A note before I get into it: I will be turning out blog posts once a week, but I will comment on issues as they happen on twitter @MatthewPienaar7.
Over the weekend a series of stories were released by Eye Witness News about student activist Mcebo Dlamini being released on bail, on the grounds that the judge who denied bail flaunted the constitution by not allowing Dlamini and his lawyers access to some of the evidence presented against him.There are so many absurdities to this story it is ridiculous.
First thing to point out is the grounds on which bail was granted. The previous judges didn't give Dlamini and his lawyers access to video footage and statements by police fingerprint experts. According to the judge this is an abuse of Dlamini's constitutional rights and thus he should be granted bail. I'm not an expert on the constitution, so I can't comment on that. But how on earth is this sufficient reason to grant bail? He was denied bail because he is a danger to society and whether or not his rights were violated in such a minute way doesn't change this fact. He is still dangerous. Effectively, he was released on a technicality. What should have happened is that Dlamini should have been given access to the evidence he was previously denied access too and another bail hearing should the have taken place.
Judge Mokgatlheng admonished Dlamini to curb the violence in the protests, but Dlamini's response did not give us much hope of that.Which brings me to my third point, which is what Dlamini said afterwards. Dlamini tries to convince us that there will be no protests around registration time and that the protests have yielded positive results, especially with reference to the missing middle students. But then why were our universities shut for 4 weeks AFTER the government addressed this issue! The 'success' he is referring too now was, in August, the excuse that instigated the protests! Nothing has changed since then, except for Dlamini's argument. Worse yet, he criticises the judges admonition to stop the vandalism and looting by comparing broken windows to students injured in the protests:
"The situation on the ground has been very brutal and violent to a black child. Why should we be concerned about a broken window, when at Wits there is a girl who is disfigured permanently, who was burnt by a stun grenade thrown in her face?... A window is more important than the black body, that's the problem. We are not advocating for the damage of property, but we are also speaking strongly against police brutality on unarmed students."
First, this comparison does not work. On the basis of what he said, I can rob a bank and say I'm innocent because we have bigger things to worry about, like the fact that Hitler killed 6 million Jews, or that Al Quada bombed the Twin Towers. One tragedy does not excuse a host of illegal and barbaric activities. It is still wrong! I wish no one would have to be hurt in these protests, but the police's actions have been forced by the nature of the protests. The police wouldn't be there if the protesters hadn't been engaging in illegal and violent activities. According Dlamini, the students respond to police violence. This is simply not the case. I am a first hand witness to the fact that the protesters instigate the violence, deliberately to get a response from the police. They force the police into reacting with stun grenades and rubber bullets, just so that they can play the victim card and garner sympathy via our pro-left biased media.
In conclusion, it is obvious that the media are trying to turn a villain into a hero. The police are not well trained to handle what has been happening, but ultimately responsibility for millions of rands worth of damage to property, the disruption of university activities, injury and, in at least one case, the death of someone affected by the protests, rests on the shoulders of the protest leaders, especially Mcebo Dlamini. He should not have been let out.