Steven Motale
2 minute read
5 Mar 2015
6:00 am

Macho culture gone mad

Steven Motale

This week, this newspaper published a heartbreaking story of a jealous cop who went on a murderous spree in Meadowlands, Soweto, killing his girlfriend and her mother before turning the gun on himself.

Sunday Independent Editor, Steve Motale

There are several troubling elements of this tragedy which, once again, highlight police’s ineptitude that still betrays many victims of crime.

According to reports the victim, Vuyiswa Madindi, 27, went to the police station with bruises after being assaulted at her house by her lover, described by Madindi’s relatives as “abusive, jealous and insecure”.

The woman’s sister claims cops went to Madindi’s house and did not arrest their colleague, who later embarked on a killing spree with his service pistol that left his girlfriend, her mom and himself dead.If allegations police went to the woman’s home and failed to arrest the killer cop, who had earlier assaulted his lover, are proved to be true, then police surely have blood on their hands and a case to answer.

Had police not been grossly negligent, as the woman’s relatives claim, the poor woman’s life could have been saved and our streets would be minus one dangerous criminal. Madindi should not just be another statistic of a rogue cop gone mad. Events around her brutal slaying need to be fully investigated.

Regrettably, what transpired in Meadowlands was not an isolated incident. Newspapers almost daily publish horrific stories of police officers who use their service pistols not to execute their mandate of protecting communities, but to wipe out their partners and, in some cases, their children as well. Whenever such murders occur, police management is quick to blame stressful and traumatic conditions under which our men and women in blue work.

We are always told there are mechanisms in place to assist cops who find it difficult to cope with their jobs and ensure they don’t turn their guns on themselves or their families. However, judging by the alarming frequency of police suicides and family murders, it is obvious whatever plan there is to prevent such tragedies is rarely effective. If stress is the real factor, why aren’t suicide and family killings among female police officers as alarmingly high as among their male counterparts?

Yes, stress might contribute to the violent behavior of our cops. However, more than anything else, the brutal slaying of the Soweto woman by her jealous cop lover lays bare the profoundly macho culture and patriarchal society in which we still live, where many men still think women should be under their control.

We still live in a country in which lots of enraged and stressed men like the Soweto killer cop take out their frustrations on women.

Violence against society’s most vulnerable members is prevalent in this country. It’s worse when perpetrators of despicable misdeeds are those tasked with creating a safe and secure environment for all South Africans.

While assisting officers to cope with the traumatic conditions under which they work, police would do well to also root  out chauvinism and patriarchy within its  ranks, tendencies that pose a threat to officers, their families and the public.