With a new year comes new beginnings, so South Africa, welcome to 2017. When reflecting on all things newsworthy of 2016, it is hard to believe the country still has some buildings standing: one would have thought the country was sure to burn.
What springs to mind for me was #FeesMustFall. Let’s not dissect the principles of the movement but let’s look to the methods used to achieve the means – not just with this movement, but with most protests: Marikana, Tatane – the list is endless.
If only there were positive endings to the united organisation of people against an injustice.
You see, a few months ago I heard someone saying on the radio what South Africa needed was to operate on the principle of not law and order but of order and law. This has never left my mind.
How can you maintain the law if you have no order to begin with? On paper we may have laws, but in reality we have a country that runs on autopilot. The perfect way to prove this was the former public protector having to go to court to have her powers enforced – to the president of all people.
If the president contests the constitution and violates his oath of office, how are the rest of us meant to abide by the same laws that govern him, which he believes can be and should be amended to suit his convenience. South Africa needs laws that are not just in black and white, but are implemented.
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We cannot have decorative laws that are reserved only for Joe Soap. We need laws that are free from passion. It should have no special treatment for the affluent or sympathies for those of disadvantaged backgrounds. The law should remain unmoved and consistent, it should not be gender or racial biased, there should be no such things as white privilege.
Once we conduct ourselves in an orderly fashion, we will be able to uphold the law, regardless of who the perpetrator may be. For reformed criminals to say: “I did it because I had a choice to either go hungry or to hijack and kill,” is disturbing.
How many people of high integrity do actually go hungry?
And when, after violently making others the victims of their selfishness, why is it easier to pay for the latest in fashion clothing and clubbing than it is to pay for further education to enable an exit of the criminal world. It is because, inherently, order on a personal level does not exists.
How then will the law be maintained?
With the beginning of a new year and all kinds of protests loading, we can but hope that the protest action will be peaceful.
We can only hope that the country will be governed in such a way that, without even having to apply the law, order will be maintained. While the jury is still out on the current public protector, we hope the liberties enshrined in our constitution will be protected – and those who are determined to see this happen are protected from those who would rather loot a country with such great potential. Within ourselves, we need to have order to allow us to keep to the law.