February 28, 2021

Discretionary Content! - Views expressed in this article are not necessarily from The Herald. Sensitive readers who may be offended are advised NOT to read this column.

*In any country where Islamic Law is practiced crime is little or nothing. In Saudi Arabia public viewing is advertised when a criminal’s hand or head is cut off by an executioner. The culprit is given a fair trial to establish guilt beyond any doubt and once this is confirmed then the accused faces punishment in full view of the public. Some may say this is barbaric. That is a perception but the reality is that nobody would even consider committing a crime. A man has been arrested for the brutal murder of a 3-year-old child in Estcourt, in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands. According to Police the child went missing last Thursday while his grandmother was at work. They found the child’s badly mutilated remains the following day in nearby bushes. A suspect was scheduled to appear in court. The child was found in bushes with a nail inserted into his skull and mutilated. A 36-year-old man was then placed under arrest for murder. The missing body parts were found inside the suspects’ house. The man deserves a fair trial. What sentence should be passed if he is found guilty? How will he be treated in prison if he gets in there and for what length of time. Life in prison demands that a prisoner is treated humanely. Nutritious meals are served, health is monitored and medication is administered for any sickness, safety is assured even though the only danger may be from fellow prisoners, the sentence may be decreased for ‘good behaviour’ because prison is supposed to be rehabilitative and not punitive. There is no death penalty in our country. A prisoner can live for as long as his life allows. But what about that 3-year-old child that was not only murdered and allegedly raped and allegedly had a nail hammered into his skull and body parts taken out of that small body and stored in the home of the accused? Or, better still, what is going through the minds of the family of that little child? Is punishment or efforts to rehabilitate criminals adequate in our country? You decide.

*Truck drivers say they fear for their lives following the dramatic increase of attacks in the road freight industry. More than 80 trucks have been torched or vandalised since April. The attacks have fuelled tensions between local and foreign drivers. President Cyril Ramaphosa has established an inter-ministerial committee to deal with the dramatic increase in truck attacks. The committee includes ministers from Safety and Security, Home Affairs and Labour. The President will soon pronounce the measures to be taken once Cabinet has approved them.

*Coronavirus is continuing its spread across the world with more than 60 million confirmed cases in 190 countries and more than 1.4 million deaths. The virus is surging in many regions and countries that had apparent success in suppressing initial outbreaks are also seeing infections rise again.

*Argentine prosecutors are investigating Diego Maradona’s doctor for possible manslaughter following the footballing legend’s death four days ago. Police in Buenos Aires have searched the house and private clinic of Leopoldo Luque as they try to establish if there was negligence in Maradona’s treatment following surgery. The 60-year-old died of a heart attack at his home where he was recuperating. Dr Luque denies wrongdoing and says he is co-operating with the inquiry. Maradona had a successful operation on a brain blood clot earlier in November and had been due to be treated for alcohol dependency.

*In the Bahrain Grand Prix Romain Grosjean somehow escaped from the most horrifying Formula 1 accident for six years with burns to the back of his hands – and the sport is still reeling from the shock of the incident and the amazement that it was not so much worse. The crash had the appearance of something from a bygone age, as the car broke in two, caught fire and split the barrier, before coming to rest embedded between two twisted sheets of metal on its side. Grosjean hit the barrier at 137mph and the impact measured a force of 53G. He was in the inferno for nearly 30 seconds before extracting himself and then being helped over the barrier by FIA doctor Ian Roberts, who had just arrived in the medical car, run towards the flames, and helped a marshal set off a fire extinguisher before going to the driver’s aid. The last time an F1 car split in two was at Monaco in 1991. The last time one caught fire in a crash was at Imola in 1989. And you have to go back to the 1970s to find accidents in which cars pierced barriers in such a way. On both occasions, at Watkins Glen in the USA in 1973 and 1974, the drivers, Francois Cevert and Helmut Koinigg, were killed.

*School holidays means going out for a well earned rest for families. But this is not a privilege enjoyed by everyone. Many cannot afford going out of town to visit family and friends. Many stay behind to earn extra money doing odd jobs. This column urges prospective employers to treat their employees fairly. Many job seekers are scholars with little or no corporate experience. Instead of wasting time and energy many scholars do odd jobs to earn some pocket money and to supplement the main wage earner.

*South Africa has sought to build consensus in the United Nations Security Council despite the complexities of conflicts on its agenda, says SA’s Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Jerry Matjila. South Africa assumes the Presidency of the Council for the month of December in its final month serving on the body responsible for international peace and security.
Pretoria has used its term to foster a closer linkage with between the UN and the African Union, tried to re-envision the Council’s inability to move the Palestinian cause closer to resolution while finding its voice amid competing interests that continue to raise serious questions about the body’s declining legitimacy. Ambassador Jerry Matjila says they continue to work to make impactful decisions that can move the different files forward but that conflicts from Afghanistan to Yemen, South Sudan, Mali, the DRC and elsewhere are complex with varying interests that often make consensus very hard to reach. Thus far the United Nations has been a toothless dog. Whether Ambassador Matjila will add any bite at all remains to be seen. It is common knowledge that every proposal must meet the agenda of the US failing which the US has a right to veto the motion. More hot air is generated in the UN than in the climate.

*World champion Lewis Hamilton will miss this weekend’s Formula 1 Sakhir Grand Prix in Bahrain after testing positive for coronavirus. His team, Mercedes, said the Briton woke with mild symptoms on Monday and returned a positive result at a subsequent test and again at a retest. Hamilton, who is now self-isolating, won the Bahrain Grand Prix at the same circuit on Sunday. Mercedes say a replacement will be named in due course. Hamilton, 35, clinched his record-equalling seventh world title at the Turkish Grand Prix on 15 November. Sunday’s race will be the first Hamilton has missed since his F1 debut at the 2007 season-opening race in Australia. He must return a negative test before returning to the paddock and therefore is a doubt for the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi on 13 December. Mercedes said Hamilton was tested three times last week, including on Sunday at the Bahrain International Circuit, and returned a negative result on each occasion. However, as well as waking with mild symptoms on Monday, he was also informed that a contact “prior to arrival in Bahrain” had tested positive. Hamilton is the third F1 driver to test positive for coronavirus this season following Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll. Mercedes have not said who will replace him but Belgian reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne – the former McLaren F1 driver – will travel to Bahrain as planned after Tuesday’s Formula E test in Valencia.

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