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Ronald Lamola calls for quick arrest and prosecution of rapper AKA’s killers

Ronald Lamola calls for quick arrest and prosecution of rapper AKA’s killers
Minister of Justice Ronald Lamola. (Photo:Jairus Mmutle / GCIS)

Justice Minister Ronald Lamola kicked off his address to a meeting of the South African National Editors' Forum on Saturday by passing his condolences to the family of rapper Kiernan 'AKA' Forbes, 35, who was shot dead outside a restaurant in Florida Rd, Durban on Friday evening. Lamola also thanked journalists for their role in protecting the country's democracy and said that the government was working hard to tighten laws to protect whistleblowers.

We woke up to the sad news of the passing of one of our artists AKA, who was shot in Durban. I call for the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators, the biggest deterrent to crime is for criminals to know that there is a big chance for them to be arrested, prosecuted and convicted.

I also convey my condolences to his family, may his soul rest in peace.

Rapper AKA, whose real name is Kiernan Forbes during an interview on January 22, 2015 in Johannesburg, (Photo by Gallo Images / City Press / Elizabeth Sejake)

We gather at a time when the world is under intense turmoil.

I need not tell you; you are a class of people who are seized with these issues on a daily basis.

Your work gives us all a sense of what the pulse of the nation is at a particular time.

In our space, your work gives our citizens direct access to a critical part of our justice system which are the courts.

Pillar of democracy

The fourth estate has been an important pillar of our constitutional democracy. A free press can be traced back to the guidelines that informed our constitutional project. This solidified the role of a free press in a constitutional democracy.

From a Magistrate court in Kirkwood to the Constitutional Court in Braamfontein, through your work, Justice gets seen to be done.

It has been drawn to my attention that at times, our Lower Courts make it difficult for you to access them and perform your duties.

We will continue to engage the leadership of our courts at various the various levels to ensure cordial working relationships with our courts countrywide.

You are the lens through which society can see the application of the Constitution when there is conflict or contestation of policy perspectives that impact the nation.

It follows then colleagues, that your role is just as important as the judiciary in many ways.

You are the voice of whistleblowers and women victimized at home and the workplace.

You are the voice of far-flung communities that the glare of the city does not reach.

Your work also provides a platform for the civil society organization which interacts with this or that government.

Your influence is at times immeasurable.

It is for this reason that you have to reflect deeply about important developments.

The rise of technology and the various platforms it provides has a direct impact on the quality of information which is being disseminated.

We experienced this last year, someone decided to create a video completely distorting the Unlawful Entry on Premises Bill.

Without any verification, but almost overnight, she became an expert on eviction law, her views caused great panic.

Perhaps what is most disturbing from this incident is the fact that her non-expert opinion found expression in mainstream platforms.

We will always be the first to advocate for freedom of expression and media freedom, but we will also be the first to call you out when we see that your platform lends itself to information that lacks credibility.

The damage is at times irredeemable to institutions and the media itself.

News avoidance

The last point which I think warrants a reflection from both of us on opposite sides of the fence, is the new phenomena called news avoidance which is on the rise.

An Oxford University study on journalism released a report in June last year which found that Selective news avoidance has, if anything, increased further – likely due to the difficult and depressing nature of the coverage.

To quote from the report this what they say:  “we find that many people are becoming increasingly disconnected from news – with falling interest in many countries, a rise in selective news avoidance, and low trust further underlining the critical challenge news media face today: connecting with people who have access to an unprecedented amount of content online and convincing them that paying attention to news is worth their while.”

On South Africa, the report says: “trust in news has increased significantly over the last four years, but at the same time, the media environment is becoming an increasingly toxic terrain of mis/disinformation, of media titles being co-opted into political and corporate propaganda, and of coordinated attacks on the credibility of individual journalists. While the majority of media can still be characterised as free, ethical, and trustworthy, it would be remiss not to be wary of attempts to erode this.”

Protecting whistleblowers

Another area that the media need to reflect on is how we can together protect whistleblowers, who contribute a lot in fighting corruption. On World Press Freedom Day last year (3 May), UNESCO launched an Issue brief on “Journalism and whistleblowing: an important tool to protect human rights, fight corruption, and strengthen democracy”, as part of the World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development series.

The key recommendations of the Issue brief were to promote and strengthen laws and practices that allow the protection of the whistleblower’s identity if they choose, and also to strengthen regulations, laws, and practices which allow journalists to keep their sources confidential.

Here in South Africa, we are working hard to tighten laws to protect whistleblowers, we are confident that the media will be important partners in this process. We need to work together to ensure that government and companies implicated by whistleblowers are held accountable. The media can also continue exposing those who victimise good citizens who blow the whistle on corrupt and unethical practices. DM

This is a shortened version of a prepared speech Delivered By Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola (MP) on 11 February 2023 at the South African National Editors Forum Council Meeting held at the South African Broadcasting Corporation Offices in Cape Town

 

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    From Business Day “When averaged over the 91 days between April and June, that’s 71 people murdered in the country every day.”

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    Pity no one has called for a quick arrest and prosecution of The Guptas who have murdered the economy of this country!

  • John Counihan says:

    The ANC just seems to have an inability to do anything right. Generate electricity, run a profitable airline, operate railways, run municipalities. And, of course, protect its citizens and catch and prosecute the bad guys.

  • Craig A says:

    ‘We will leave no stone unturned….. blah, blah, blah’. Same old story.
    “the biggest deterrent to crime is for criminals to know that there is a big chance for them to be arrested, prosecuted and convicted.” WHAT? Where he has been living? The chance of being caught is minimal and if they do get caught they get R 500 bail and disappear again. The cops couldn’t even stop cable thieves stealing a huge cable outside the police station while they watched!! Criminals aren’t scared of the police because they are incompetent or corrupt. Probably both.

  • James Francis says:

    AKA was a constant ANC shill. No wonder they call for quick action. Pity the ANC hasn’t done the same for the countless community leaders and whistleblowers who have been murdered. Why are Babita Deokaran’s killers and their puppetmasters still free? In fact, where is the nice op-ed column by the minister calling for action around her murder? (And not just ineffectual statements about whistleblower protection?)

  • Jon Quirk says:

    More to the point, when is justice going to be served on he who killed AKA’s girlfriend; it shouldn’t be a hard case to solve – just two people in a locked room.

  • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

    We must say to the Minister of Justice as well as the pick and pay general that every life lost is precious in particular life lost in such circumstances. It is very despicable when politicians seek to score cheap political points when we have similar deaths in Nelson Mandela Bay, Cape Town , Johannesburg and many parts of the country with regularity. These are members of the executive whose responsibility is also to ensure that no citizen dies in such a manner. It ought to be citizens who are calling on Lamola and company to ensure those who commit these heinous acts are brought to book rather than to have a running commentary on crime. We need a comprehensive approach on crime that first must end the impunity of those who commit these crimes. It requires a proper police force with investigative skills that ensure once perpetrators are caught justice will meted out not the Meyiwa abomination. We need to ensure that conditions that create such criminality are dealt with, the porous borders through which illegal guns reach our country are secured, corrupt police who sell guns to criminals are weeded out, prosecution and speedy trials of those responsible, building communities that do not tolerate crime and criminality. The loss of lives through shooting have become common and we need specialised skilled units to deal with gangsterism, drugs and other physical crimes. Ministers have to do their jobs and not make running commentaries on such tragic events.

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