Lack of compassion is turning SA barbaric

Legality is a major requirement for a society to be considered 'civilised' … but so is compassion. By that latter yardstick, South Africa is barbaric indeed.


The images were a flashback to the ’50s, when photos appeared of black men made to dance naked by prison officers to prove they were concealing nothing in their bodies.

The uniforms were there again, so was the naked man; so, too, was the humiliation of another poor person in South Africa. This time, it was law enforcement officials in Cape Town who tackled a naked man to the ground as he tried to resist his simple corrugated iron shack being torn down.

Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato has admitted the actions of the officials were shameful and he apologised to the man who had been stripped of his dignity. But Plato was adamant that the law – which says that even during lockdown, illegal land occupiers must be removed – was going to be applied vigorously.

We are not condoning land invasions, but this sort of conduct – heartless in the midst of bitter winter and an explosion of poverty as our economy collapses – is only going to further fill the well of bitterness in this country.

Legality is a major requirement for a society to be considered “civilised” … but so is compassion. By that latter yardstick, South Africa is barbaric indeed.

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City of Cape Town(COCT) Dan Plato