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Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - COMMENT -

THE Anni De­wani murder

light he would rise above this non­sense.

case has gripped the nation, with this week’s court­room rev­e­la­tions no doubt el­e­vat­ing me­dia read­ing and view­ing. The sala­cious as­pects of the case are in­trigu­ing enough, but there is ap­pears to be more to it than that: it has prod­ded the na­tional psy­che.

Per­haps the crass­est ex­pres­sion of this came from – sur­prise, sur­prise – na­tional po­lice com­mis­sioner Gen­eral Bheki Cele when he called murder sus­pect Shrien De­wani a “mon­key” who “thought we were stupid”.

In do­ing so, Cele came per­ilously close to pro­nounc­ing on De­wani’s guilt, but that is hardly sur­pris­ing for a man who ap­pears to think that his

charges should shoot first and then ask ques­tions.

What is sur­pris­ing is that he ap­pears to be more in­tent on ad­dress­ing for­eign per­cep­tions of us than ac­knowl­edg­ing the re­al­ity on the ground. The tri­umphal­ist tone of Cele’s com­ments are clearly mo­ti­vated by his own de­sire – one shared by many – to prove that the killing did not re­flect badly on South Africa.

But what then of the sug­ges­tion that De­wani paid a piti­ful amount to the hit­men to have his wife killed? And what about the real tragedy of a young woman’s life cut short? And what about the crime statis­tics that sug­gest we are a nation that has not got to grips with the vi­o­lence in its midst?

Of course no­body wants their city or coun­try to be as­so­ci­ated with this sort of crime and it is per­haps un­der­stand­able that peo­ple were re­lieved by the ev­i­dence of con­victed taxi driver Zola Tongo.

But Cele’s re­sponse ap­pears to have been di­rect- ed at a nar­row, big­oted com­mu­nity of Afro-scep­tics be­yond our bor­ders. The most vol­u­ble and of­fen­sive of these be­ing De­wani’s spin doc­tor, Max Clif­ford.

Cele’s po­si­tion de­mands that he acts and pro­nounces in a mea­sured fashion. If he re­ally wanted to have his coun­try painted in a pos­i­tive

In­stead he has him­self em­bar­rassed us in the eyes of the world.

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