Coligny's riots and wreckage recently sparked a glimpse of the challenges facing South Africa. In addition to the fact that South Africa has been declared a junk state in economic terms, the destruction and plundering of property has prompted the question whether the authorities can rule the country at all. It has become a common phenomenon that property is destroyed and plundered either to express grievances or under the pretext that it is about grievances. The police seem to be powerless to protect victims of such wreckage and plundering.
What is particularly worrying is that reporting by some members of the media gives the impression that the lawless actions are being approved. This also applies to certain community leaders and church leaders who either have not the courage of their conviction to condemn it or otherwise approve of it.
On Sunday night, the newsreader on Kyknet reported that the murder of a boy had unleashed the riots at Coligny. First, it conflicts with the facts that are well-known and secondly, it violates the principle of our right that a person may only be accused of murder if such a person is found guilty by the court. Magistrate Magaola Fosa, who had to consider the application of the two accused for bail, found him in a difficult position. On the one hand, he had to consider the application based on the requirements of our law and what is legally right and in the interest of justice and on the other hand faces the anger of certain members of the community who have no regard for the law whatsoever. The fact that magistrate Fosa has granted bail, speaks volumes for his integrity. It is very unfortunate that the media, community and church leaders did not bother to emphasize the legal principles on which bail should be considered and to appeal to the community to abide by it. It is also striking that interviews conducted with the protesters and televised on television are done without any analysing of the matter and that no attempt is made to do so in a balanced manner so that all aspects of the case may be highlighted objectively.
If we want South Africa out to rise out of the swamp in which the country is currently, it will require a huge team effort by church and society. In this regard, the media can play an important role in reporting objectively with equal emphasize on all aspects of the matter based on the maintenance of law and order.