A week of justice for some – anger and sadness for the rest
Actually, I’m livid. What makes it even worse is that my state of exasperation has come in a week in which I also experienced a sense of relief.
The source of the latter was the judgment handed down by Supreme Court of Appeal Judge Eric Leach on Thursday that former Paralympic star Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius was “guilty of murder with the accused having had criminal intent in the form of
My solace was not brought about by the fact that Pistorius – whose story the honourable Judge Eric Leach aptly summed up as “a human tragedy of Shakespearean proportions” – was going down.
I felt that the judgment would actually go a long way towards restoring some level of faith in our justice system.
There had been several questions after the initial judgment was handed down in the high court, but I will not go into that, seeing that this is a sports column.
My anger comes from how, just two days prior to the landmark Pistorius verdict, we awoke to the news of the callous murder of former Athletics SA CEO Banele Sindani (may his soul rest in peace).
As more details of how Sindani was brutally gunned down in front of his 12-year-old daughter emerged – particularly the nonchalant manner in which his assailants left with a plasma TV and two cellphones – the angrier I became.
I could not agree more with Sports and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula when he said: “We trust and hope the relevant authorities will find and bring to justice those who stole him from us.”
But that statement also added to my misery.
I had my own doubts about whether this would happen, seeing that we are still sitting with the unsolved murder of Orlando Pirates and Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa more than a year since he was gunned down in front of five witnesses at the house of the mother of girlfriend Kelly Khumalo in Vosloorus.
Can one trust the “relevant authorities” Mbalula speaks of to ensure that Sindani’s killers are brought to book?
If so, what’s stopping them from doing the same with Meyiwa’s murderer or murderers?
Sindani was a giant in sports administration. He had impeccable struggle credentials. He was also articulate.
As an aside, his murder has robbed this newspaper of a “cracking story” that he promised yours truly a few weeks ago.
I can only sit and wonder at what kind of country fails to bring to book the killers of such high-profile members of society. That’s not to say that others’ lives are worth less, but if we can’t catch people amid all this publicity, who can we catch?
Everywhere one travels over our borders, we keep being asked: “How does our country fail to arrest, try and put in jail the people or person who killed the country’s football captain?”
At the time Meyiwa was killed, he was riding the crest of the wave, having kept some impressive clean sheets for both his beloved Buccaneers and Bafana Bafana.
The findings of the appeal judges that Pistorius’ confused and conflicting stories about what happened on Valentine’s Day in 2013 meant that he had no defence – as well as the ruling that shooting into a small cubicle with deadly hollow-point ammunition meant he intended to kill whoever was behind that door – might have restored some credibility to our law enforcement and justice systems. Reeva Steenkamp’s family was finally given closure, but the outcome may ring hollow for the Sindani and Meyiwa families.
That is unless the killers in both those cases are caught and dealt with accordingly.
Until that happens, I shall remain consumed by sadness and anger.