You will know that I drove into a scene of two black policemen abusing a white woman in March this year and reported it. What is sad about it is that almost no one believed anything would come from my complaint and most of the comments made to me in private reflected this state of affairs. It seems that the South African Police Service has no known reputation left or not one which any police service would want to have. The comments were not just negative - they were downright hostile and this from many former police officers who watched the steady decline of a beloved police force for two decades now. I get their anger and frustration.
I have always maintained in my police books that we need to be careful on how we look at things. Just because I found two cowards is not to say that they are all like that. Nope, you do find good policemen and my complaint sort of proved it to me. So what happened? Well in short I saw these two clowns shouting verbal threats at a woman for reasons I don’t get but suspect it was because they were parked without official reason on a disable parking and they were there to buy food for two passengers, females, whom I doubt very much should have been in a police vehicle in the first place. You can read my statement here if you had not done so already.
So what happened after I lodged the complaint? Nothing, for 45 days I did not get a positive response besides two emails here and there and the first one after three whole weeks acknowledging receipt. Even that one could not spell “associates” which is indicative of what was to come from police headquarters. Pathetic service or cover up? You decide since I know what I think and I am waiting for a reasonable explanation (there is none) on why it took so long to do something positive. From a public relations (lol, as if they have any) view they also failed dramatically as they knew about the incident and lost a golden opportunity to restore confidence. I am not surprised by this at all, I expected disappointment and I got disappointment.
But surprise surprise, after the 45 days the members of Honeydew SAPS called me and suddenly we saw the police in action with a proper investigation done immediately after they were informed, belatedly, from police headquarters, about the incident. There were many phone calls and feedback and it created no doubt that there are still some good policemen left. I dealt with them. They were polite, to the point and took the trouble to speak Afrikaans though the statement is in English and you expect to speak Pommy when conducting business or anything else. Afrikaans has lost its power and it will continue to go down. Of that I have no doubt. Just the other day we read that my old university once reckoned to have the best law faculty in the country, is now trying to switch to English only. Now this is in the middle of the Free State Province which is as Afrikaans as Holland is Dutch or France is French. Almost no one is able to speak English properly here including me. It is the right choice but is leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
I don’t mind the switch to Pommy to be honest but on condition then that no other language is spoken, published, presented on television and we all speak English. No problem at all and obviously it never will happen. We will cling to our traditions and languages and keep on misunderstanding each other. Of that I have zero doubts either and I don’t believe things will get better here. It will become more corrupt and Apartheid will be blamed a thousand years from now for whatever happens then. I find the “positive ones” among us rather silly and wonder in what world exactly they live. They had obviously not yet lost their jobs and joined the ranks of the unemployed because of affirmative action. Nor do they understand what being poor really means. However, that is their problem and let them live in cuckoo land.
To get back to the police problem we can learn a lesson here…if you are abused and you keep silent and you cannot be found to testify you have only yourself to blame when nothing happens. Without a complainant they can do nothing and so it is in life. I had often said in this blog and my legal books that the law is neutral. Unless you use it to defend yourself or to enforce your legal rights you cannot complain or say “the law is not working.” No, the fault lies with you who did nothing. When you are faced with racist abuse, do something about it. Take statements from people who saw it and get it on video. In this case the investigating team could not find anyone except me willing to talk. Hence the matter is finalised and the two cowards got away with it. This is not the police’s fault - this is the way the legal system works.
I am not concerned. I have been around the block a few times and I know what natural justice is. Those two clowns are going to insult the wrong person and get the hiding of their lives or they are going to do it where the public will stand up and they will be fired from their jobs. They got away with for now because of a lack of evidence but be warned it will not always be like that. Today I feel like Pontius Pilatus, I wash my hands on this affair and consider it closed. Justice was not done but justice is neutral. Report such incidents or stop complaining and emigrate.
Koos Kotze is a former member of the South African Police Force. He served between 1985 and 1991 primarily as a sergeant in the Pretoria Flying Squad. During his police years, he was awarded the South African Police Medal for Combating Terrorism twice besides lesser awards. After leaving the Police Force he obtained the law degrees B Iuris & LLB at the University of the Free State (Bloemfontein, South Africa) and was a commercial law attorney for eight years. These days he is the owner of JKLS Africa and Associates, a specialist legal consultancy which specializes in reducing legal risk in sub Saharan Africa. He wrote several books on business, law, counter-terrorism and security issues. At times he is asked to participate on the Voice of America regarding legal forensic matters.