a different perspective

This entry is written by Kusha Kalideen, a Masters Genetics student at UCT who is assisting the DNA Project with the implementation of its DNA CSI Awareness Campaign.

Kusha Kalideen

While the rest of South Africa is officially on a slow down due to the highly contagious FIFA fever, we at the DNA Project, are frantically working behind-the-scenes – informing various sectors of society, (who we call the first responders to a crime scene; such as security companies, paramedics, community police forums etc.), of the DNA project, the DNA Awareness Campaign and the workshops therein.

And as no-one in RSA is immune to FIFA fever, this blog –too – is looking at the FIFA 2010 World Cup…

There is no doubt: South Africa is putting on a hell of a show for the 2010 World Cup. We have the locations, we have world class stadia, we have passionate fans, we have gees. In the days leading up to and during the beautiful game(s), South Africa was and currently is awash with flags, football shirts and an electrifying atmosphere in the air. Everyone, is still feeling it – it is here! We are proud citizens, proud of hosting the FIFA World Cup. It’s fabulous!

Yet, there is something that bothers me about the FIFA 2010 World Cup. And no, it is not the “lack” of goals, the anatomy of Jabulani (the world cup ball) or the disgraceful behaviour of the French coach toward Carlos Alberta Parreira, after our boys taught the frogs a thing or two about how to play football . It has to do with the Department of Justice.

Yes, our very own DoJ, who has allocated around R45 million to the creation and initiation of special “World Cup Courts” (WCCs) – 56 WCCs to be exact –  throughout the country. These courts are meant to deal with World Cup offences in a speedy and efficient manner. Which, is great. BUT, why didn’t we have these courts at in place and at our disposal, long before Mr Blatter entered the picture? WHERE did we get R45 million? I do understand the need to “protect” foreigners and adhere to the regulations set out by FIFA. But at what cost to the taxpayer? And did we really have the resources to have the WCCs?

However, all this if after the fact. What we should be focussing on now is whether these WCCs should exist after FIFA fever is but a memory? In my opinion (please bear in mind I am neither a lawyer nor a politician, just a geneticist), yes. Obviously not called WCCs and not dealing with soccer-related crime.

They can be used as (for lack of a better word) “interim” courts – where cases (any and all cases in the area and surrounding areas of the court) will be heard promptly. Should the matter be taken to a higher court, it will be done in an appropriate time frame. These “interim” courts will speed up legal processes, provide jobs (magistrates, prosecutors, court orderlies, legal aid lawyers, court clerks, security – to name a few), and swiftly deal with cases, thus relieving the burden and time-delay of higher courts. In conjunction with biological evidence, (and we hope, in the near future the DNA Bill will be passed) these “interim” courts will successfully hear, try and convict those guilty of crime. The “interim” courts will be the perfect setting for utilising biological evidence: “interim” courts are “on the ground” (as opposed to the regal stature of higher courts), for immediate public benefit and at the end of the day available to every person in our society (from my basic understanding of the WCCs, legal aid lawyers are available on site). Not only will the “interim” courts provide society with an appropriate legal system, but it will also educate people in law, constitution and forensic science and why these fields are not to be feared.

All in all, I think the WCCs should stay. We spent the money creating them. Lets us now maintain them, use them for making our country a safer place. And let us keep working at implementing the DNA Bill – we have shown we are a passionate nation, full of gees; let us show our parliamentarians we believe in the DNA Bill. The Bill, together with the “interim” courts, will do nothing but benefit us. As South Africans, we can do anything. Make your voice heard. Lets us know what you think.


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