Friday 4 December 2015

South Africa: Rest In Peace, Reeva Steenkamp

Talking Uber
I have the most interesting discussions with Uber drivers who form the basis of my regular mode of transport in Johannesburg.
Usually after the exchange of pleasantries, a question or two about where I am from, I make an observation during the journey and the deeper conversation begins.
What I find amongst the drivers, either the economy UberX or the luxury UberBlack fares are inquiring and inquisitive minds with questions and an openness to new thought and angles.
South Africa in the time I have been here, has presented flux and frenzy in the socio-economic and political world that we have a surfeit of topics to cover.
They are usually quite amazed at how much I follow South African current affairs, but that is the creature that I am, I try to keep abreast of things.
Justice many times denied
Before Oscar Pistorius appeared in court yesterday, on my way to work I was asked what my view of the situation was.
I lamented the fact that the courts had not given much succour to victims of violence citing Reeva Steenkamp and Anni Dewani as examples of where the men allegedly behind their deaths got away literally scotfree.
However, my only hope this time would be for the judges to ask themselves one question in coming to their decision. All arguments exhausted, where is the justice for Reeva Steenkamp in all this?
Yesterday, evening the answer came in a 53-minute unanimous ruling that the act of Oscar Pistorius on that fateful Valentine Day's morning constituted murder regardless of who was behind that toilet door.
Now fix this
Whilst we find ourselves referencing the Latin dictionary of legal terms that Judge Thokozile Masipa compelled us to acquire when he was sentenced to 5 years for culpable homicide it would appear her ladyship read her own annotated copy erroneously.
We have now to be schooled anew on the application of dolus eventualis to this case, that shooting four shots into an enclosed place regardless of the state of mind of the shooter can only lead to death and there is no reasoning to suggest the shooter, Oscar Pistorius did not know that death will occur after those shots.
The Supreme Court of Appeal which is the highest civil court in South Africa thereby found in favour of the National Prosecuting Authority that was dissatisfied with the ruling of Judge Masipa's court.
With Judge Masipa suitably scolded by superior legal opinion, she has been offered a second opportunity to balance the scales of justice to visit the crime of murder with a suitable punishment that hopefully takes consideration of the indisputable fact that a life was brutally extinguished at the hands of a thoughtless gun nut.
It is no doubt as Judge Eric Leach said, that this is a human tragedy of Shakespearean proportions, but the greatest justice will only be served when the sentence says, Reeva Steenkamp, we're sorry, now rest in peace.

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