SOUTH AFRICAN LAW: PROMINENCE PROMOTES INEQUALITY
By: Menelisi Ndwandwe
When the African National Congress (ANC) campaigned for the 1994 elections, they promised the country equality before the law.
However, public figures are often seen as people who are above the law when compared to the ordinary citizens.
“With the experience of 30 years in the field, I have witnessed that when someone is well-known they tend to get tender treatment. That is not justice,” said Senior Prosecutor Mvelase Mthembu from Nongoma Magistrate Court.
Going back to 1999, well-known soccer administrator Dr Irvin Khoza was in trouble because of a R66 million tax probe directed to him. Khoza managed to escape all the allegations the South African Revenue Services (SARS) were throwing to him.
Who can forget how ANC National Executive Committee member Tony Yengeni got away with his driving and drinking scandal? There have been some famous people who ignore the South African Road Traffic Act 93 of 1996 that deals with a driver’s blood-alcohol level. Nhlakanipho Nkosi, a 32-year-old a taxi driver says that he has spent four months in jail because of drinking and driving but some prominent people still get away with this offense.
Other famous people have been speeding on our roads. The likes of Doctor Khumalo, Itumeleng Khune, Sbusiso Leope, Julius Malema are but a few of the prominent who have escaped justice with ease.
In 2009 Sowetan columnist and law expert Anna Majavu saidthat Minister Jeff Radebe (who was in charge of the Justice ministry at the time) needed to move fast to mend the rift between the ANC and the country’s judges. It is evident that there has been something irregular going on when it comes to justice in this country.
In the ANC’s 1994 manifesto the following phrase stuck out: “The system of justice will be made more accessible, cheap and fair to everyone.”
We are 20 years into democracy but justice continues to favour those who know people in high places and denies the innocent proven guilty because they cannot afford to have the judgment in their favour.