IOL Sport writer, Lungani Zama.
Accountability is a myth in South Africa.

Seemingly, you get away with most things, even when there is overwhelming evidence to convict you and put you away long enough to acquire some sobering perspective for your senseless actions.

This week, there was finally a sentence meted out on the Kaizer Chiefs 'fans' who demolished Moses Mabhida Stadium, trashed equipment and trampled an innocent security guard last year.

The main perpetrator got three years in jail, purely because he had a prior conviction. The eight others who were in the dock with him walked away with suspended sentences.

Yes. They walked away.

Their victim couldn’t walk for weeks, and his freedom is compromised forever by psychological shackles of that night.

They have correctional supervision for a year, but the leniency shown for such barbaric, collective acts is disgusting.

Imagine, if you dare, being the poor security guard who was very nearly killed - for a shift rate of R200 - simply for trying to control people hellbent on causing havoc and terror.

Imagine trying to digest the supposed justice dished out in Durban this past week, knowing full well that you saw your life flash past you in a flurry of black and yellow kicks and punches on 21 April.

That is incredible.

In this country, then, you can beat and kick a man to within an inch of his life, and then walk away with a warning and some regular visits from correctional officers.

It is truly astonishing, and the leniency might well explain why we still see such behaviour year upon year.

You would think that, after incidents as harrowing as the Ellis Park disaster in 2001, respect and restraint would be buzzwords when going to a sporting event.

After all, the premise for being at a stadium in the first place is to forget about the world’s worries - even if it’s only for a couple of hours.

There was a mob at Moses Mabhida Stadium that night. A heaving, spiteful mob that turned violent the moment things turned sour on the field.

They could have killed, and they very nearly did.

In a country where unemployment is rife, just imagine being faced with the prospect of security guard duty on Saturday night.

Rate: R200 a night.

Hazards: drunk and unruly fans.

Risks: If you try to do your job too well, you might get killed in the process.

And those who beat you to a pulp can take their chances in courts of law that might show leniency because it’s their first offence. You know, because it would be harsh to send those type of people to jail.

But hey, R200 puts something on the table for a few days, once you take out the bus fare, and hand back your vest.

Just imagine.

This is my final column for Independent Media. To regular readers, thank you. For everything.

The media industry needs you now more than ever because the pen is only as mighty as your support.

Keep reading, and keep raging when you feel you are being short-changed.

I’m off to scratch other itches.

Independent Media wishes Lungani all the very best in his future endeavours.


Sunday Tribune

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