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By Marizka Coetzer

Journalist


Groblersdal: It’s a black-and-white matter

If it was two black men who attacked a black security guard, the Bittereinders would not even be aware of the case.


It’s no secret South Africans are a sensitive people, especially when it comes to race, colour and culture. And our rainbow nation is anything but colourful – so much that happens these days is framed in terms of black vs white. The little farm town of Groblersdal recently made headlines and divided people following the arrest of four white men associated with the Bittereinders activist group. This followed the earlier arrest of a white father and his son. Piet Groenewald and Stephen Greef respectively allegedly threatened Veneruru Kavari, a security guard, with an attack dog and injected him with something…

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It’s no secret South Africans are a sensitive people, especially when it comes to race, colour and culture.

And our rainbow nation is anything but colourful – so much that happens these days is framed in terms of black vs white.

The little farm town of Groblersdal recently made headlines and divided people following the arrest of four white men associated with the Bittereinders activist group.

This followed the earlier arrest of a white father and his son. Piet Groenewald and Stephen Greef respectively allegedly threatened Veneruru Kavari, a security guard, with an attack dog and injected him with something in the buttocks, which led to him opening a case of assault with the police.

The case drew the attention of the likes of Minister of Police Bheki Cele and Minister of Justice and Correctional Service Ronald Lamola, who attended the court proceedings, and that also sparked criticism.

ALSO READ: Groblersdal 4: Devon Hofmeyr in court to make bail bid [Watch]

I would honestly rather see Cele and Lamola attending court cases than playing golf.

However, things took a dramatic turn when a group of Bittereinders members protested outside the Groblersdal Magistrate’s Court, demanding the father and son be released on bail.

Videos circulating social media showed the group marching up and down the street with old Afrikaner flags before a handful tried to force their way into the court proceedings, one of them injuring a female police officer.

This led to Devon Hofmeyr, Willem Petzer, Tewie Wessels and Francois van der Merwe handing themselves over to police in connection with charges of assault and public violence.

The four remained behind bars for more than a week, with many Afrikaners taking to social media about the so-called unfairness of the justice system and reverse racism.

ALSO READ: Groblersdal father and son to learn fate of bail application

Why were they being denied bail? Why were they arrested for public violence when there are hundreds of marches and protests each year and no-one got arrested?

People were ripping each other to pieces over the four young white men being held.

Sadly, it was just another day in paradise aka South Africa.

They stayed behind bars for longer than they should have due to load shedding and court procedures. And this was not an isolated incident or even a case example.

Many suspects wait for months, or years, before their application is heard, and the matter might be postponed numerous times.

ALSO READ: Devon Hofmeyr and Willem Petzer await bail hearing as Groblersdal case sparks outrage

The only difference was they didn’t blame it on the colour of their skin but rather on the government or the justice system.

Do they not remember the #FeesMustFall movement and the arrest of Kanya Cekeshe, who was sentenced to five years in jail for public violence and malicious damage to property during the #FeesMustFall protests?

“What about Malema?” they cry.

Economic Freedom Fighters’ leader Julius Malema did not attack a security guard, threaten him with an attack dog or inject him with an unknown substance.

Another angle to consider would be if two black men assaulted and threatened a white man with an attack dog. Would the Bittereinders also toyi-toyi outside the court for the suspects to be released. And why not?

ALSO READ: WATCH: Groblersdal father and son denied bail in assault case

If it was two black men who attacked a black security guard, the Bittereinders would not even be aware of the case.

And if it was white men who beat up another white man, they would simply ignore it because that happens regularly without anyone batting an eyelid.

If they say farm murders are out of control, why do we not see them at those court cases, marching with old flags and demanding justice?

Where are these men when rapists and abusers of women or children appear in court, or do they only rock up when it is black vs white?

It should not be about black and white, but rather about wrong and right.

ALSO READ: WATCH: Lamola condemns racial tension amid Groblersdal assault trial

Read more on these topics

Courts and Crime Groblersdal Race and Culture

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