Life’s worth

Posted: October 2, 2011 in Uncategorized

I have always maintained that our police officers have the most dangerous policing job in the world. Perhaps there’s no other place in the world do we find the police facing hostile civilian population on a daily basis like in South Africa. Be that as it may, a life of a police officer in South Africa worth only few cents.

I’m talking about the recent payout to a family of a police murdered by a rugby player? Bees Roux pleaded guilty to drunk driving and culpable homicide for killing a Metro police Sergeant Ntshimane Johannes Mogale. He ridiculously apologised to the family of police for killing their breadwinner, and he was ordered to pay them R750 000 in compensation and that ensures he escape jail. Mind you this is despite killing not just a civilian but also a police officer. Is this what we believe police officers’ life worth? This is a travesty. It should occur that murders of police usually occur when they’re trying to stop a crime. In Roux’s statement, ‘Mogale had pulled Roux over for suspected drunk driving in the early hours of the morning. Roux admitted to have had few drinks at a nearby restaurant. However Mogale did not arrest him, but took a bottle of whiskey out of the rugby player’s car and gave to two of his colleagues in their car. Mogale then got into the driver’s seat of Roux’s car and aggressively demanded the PIN number of his bankcard before driving with him to an unknown destination. According to Roux, it was clear to him that Mogale was on a criminal frolic of his own. He killed Mogale because he feared for his life.’

What a bullshit story! It is ridiculous for a judge to fall for that and perhaps this case deserves a better investigation and a better judge. If Mogale was a criminal frolic as Roux said then he could have used his gun. What kind of a criminal get killed with bare hands while on duty and carrying a gun? Mogale was a police officer trying to do his work – he didn’t deserve to die. Did the judge think of that? I smell something rotten in this case. Besides all, Roux got away with somebody’s life and happy to pay shit money for it.

Of course police officers represent the rest of us, and therefore an attack on one of them should be considered an attack on the security of the whole society. I also understand that the perpetrators of such crimes deserve to be punished more severely. What makes Roux’s case deserve such a lenient sentencing even after he confessed? I’m not here campaigning for death penalty or playing race card. However I’m trying to imagine this scenario happening the other way around – a black civilian killing a white police officer. Do I have to believe that a widow or even a family of a murdered white police will be happy to be settled with such a ridiculous sentencing? Even some of the white community in South Africa will be up in arms demanding harsh punishment. In this case there has been a tragedy and a death, as well as a great loss to family, friends and the community in general. It’s scares me to think this is a price tag for the life of a black policeman in South Africa. You can guess the sentencing for killing a white police officer.

This case makes me think that the police deserve danger pay in addition to this paltry salary. They deserve subsidized housing and they deserve much better base pay.  It is ridiculous to think of the entry-level constable wage. Is that even money? Perhaps all this is doing is giving them more reason for corruption – something a judge fell for. Our police deserve a far better life than this. If life is our personal, private possession then, as with any other personal, private possession, the individual has the right to dispose of it as he or she chooses.

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