1 minute read
15 Dec 2016
5:16 am

Comparing McBride saga to Arab Spring is far-fetched

The Arab Spring grew from on-the-ground, grassroots dissatisfaction at economic conditions and dictatorial rule.

Robert McBride during a court appearance on March 13, 2015 at the Pretoria High Court in Pretoria, South Africa. McBride lost his urgent bid to prevent his suspension as director of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid). (Photo by Gallo Images / Foto24 / Alet Pretorius)

Among a veritable host of criminal charges against Independent Police Investigative Directorate head Robert McBride, forensic consultant Paul O’Sullivan, City of Joburg anticorruption head Shadrack Sibiya and suspended crime intelligence officer Captain Candice Coetzee, lodged by Gauteng supremo Major-General Prince Mokotedi, is an accusation that they were propagating a new, South African, Arab Spring.

In themselves, the charges are serious enough – high treason, espionage, conspiracy to murder Hawks boss Lieutenant-General Berning Ntlemeza and corruption – but we would suggest that the reference to an Arab Spring sounds a touch far-fetched and it is little wonder that McBride challenged Mokotedi to submit to a polygraph test.

The Arab Spring, which spread from street protests that began in Tunisia on December 17, 2010, was very much a revolutionary wave which swept through the Arab nations in North Africa and beyond.

But what it grew from was on-the-ground, grassroots dissatisfaction at economic conditions and dictatorial rule. It was patently not the manifestation of a vicious, no-holds-barred knife fight being waged at levels inaccessible to the average South African.

That the combatants are, in the main, senior law enforcement officers makes the whole sorry saga even more unsavoury.

These are, after all, not gangs daubed with the colours of the Bloods or the Crips in the mean streets of Los Angeles or even, we would suggest, unfeeling hit-men despatched by the ’Ndràngheta crime syndicate of Italian notoriety.

The clear line in the sand has been marked out in the courts of law and demarcated by the parallels of individual accountability destined never to meet.

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