Is Roux’s payment to Mogale’s family an indication of just how cheap a black person’s life is?

Since news broke that Blue Bulls rugby player Bees Roux will no longer serve his jail time for killing a 38-year-old Tshwane Metro police officer, Ntshimane Johannes Mogale, but will only have to pay the deceased’s family about R750 000 in compensation – I got worried. Literally.

I really got worried and wondered whether Roux deliberately agreed to paying Mogale’s family the said amount of money because:

  1. He’s is white (excuse my racist tendencies), or
  2. He has got so much money to thrown around even if it means agreeing to having killed someone and then getting away murder, or
  3. Like in many other similar criminal matters, the police have abused the “plea bargaining agreement” regulation to getting him to (partly) confess to what had happened that night, or
  4. Indeed what our entire justice system did this week is working against the poor.

And if I am going to be accused of or seen as being racist for calling Roux white, then so be it. I mean, there are many people who say worse things when they are drunk [some Darren something] or even when they are sober [some Malema-types].

In August 27 last year, according to claims appearing on and last accessed on 11 September 2011, Roux apparently “became part of the South African statistics accounting for individuals, like you and me, who have fallen prey in various incidents to law despising legal servants”. The web site claimed that Roux’s “enjoyable evening degenerated into a nightmare when corrupt activities once again claimed a new victim in Bees – activities which still remain unmasked and have yet to be placed at the door of the true offenders for reckoning”. Shockingly, the web site failed to state whether or not Roux was drunk as has been alleged at the time of the incident but was quick to come to his “I’m innocent” defence which does not really help the issue at all nor does it take away the fact that he killed a human being: a father, husband, brother, uncle, family man, something some people don’t consider that much important, I think.

The writer (or whoever wrote that nonsense) should probably have written that Roux’s “drunkard and enjoyable evening degenerated into a nightmare when he, God knows what the hell he was thinking at that time he decided to drive home despite having taken more than one beer and acted the way he did when he was stopped by the cops”. That would probably have been better, I think. It would appear to me that whoever wrote this on the web site was blaming Mogale, the cop who allegedly got into a fight with Roux. This is because the writer of his claim states clearly that what had happened that night was as a result of some kind of “corrupt activities” by Mogale which, as we now know, had remained “unmasked” until Friday, 9 September 2011. Frankly, it is not clear, to me at least, what the writer of this claim means that: “The media communicate these occurrences to us on a daily basis, however, the flood of corruption progresses unabated”.

Is the writer implying that Mogale was one of the corrupt cops who have asked motorists and drivers to give him some kind of money after he had caught them (motorists) having broken the laws of the road?  And can the same writer say with great certainty that indeed Mogale, given the tone of the message of the web site, acted in an inappropriate manner (corruptly I mean) towards Roux? On the same breath, can the writer prove this “corrupt activities” as having been committed by Mogale at the time of his being killed by Roux?

And the fact that the writer of the web site appealed to members of the public (probably Roux’s ruby fans, and mostly white) for donations to Roux’s “astronomical legal fees” to prove his “innocence [in Court as he somehow managed to last week] by setting alleged distorted facts into perspective amount to hundreds of thousands” is quite suspicions, for me at least. But anyway there’s nothing wrong in making such an appeal. Is there? And I personally suspect that the surplus which was apparently going to be “donated to charity organisations” – as claimed by the web site – is the same surplus used by Roux (and with whoever he’s in this) as a form of compensation to Mogale’s family.

Last week Friday Judge Nomonde Mngqibisa-Thusi sentenced Roux to five years’ imprisonment, suspended for five years, on charges of culpable homicide and driving under the influence in terms of a plea bargain agreement reached with the State. Compensation to Mogale’s family and that he may not be convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for a violent crime within the next five years were some of Roux’s conditions.

According to Sunday Independent newspaper Roux had admitted to repeatedly hitting Mogale on the head with his elbow and then punching and throwing him to the ground in August last year. This after Mogale had pulled him off the road somewhere in Pretoriafor suspected drunk driving in the early hours of the morning. Roux, according to the report, also admitted to having had a few drinks at a nearby restaurant, and said the deceased did not arrest him but [Mogale] took a bottle of whisky out of the his car and gave it to two of his colleagues in their car. Mogale then got into the driver’s seat of Roux’s car and aggressively demanded the PIN number of his bank card before driving with him to an unknown destination. According to Roux it was clear to him that Mogale was about to conduct a criminal act. He decided to attack Mogale because he feared for his life, so Roux tells us. Personally, I do not believe his part.

I guess that’s a strategy any other person would have used merely because there were no witnesses in the car to attest to or deny these claims that indeed Mogale had asked for Roux’s bank card and the pin code. And funny that it was only after killing Mogale (probably the few drinks he had before that accident had something to do with his uncontrolled behaviour?) that Roux realised that he “should have stopped any further assault on the deceased when he landed on the road outside the car”. Well, I guess he did not stop as he would have liked to because he was “in a state of agitation and turmoil as a result of the incident, the likes of which I’d never experienced before”.  Whatever Roux.

That Roux would just moer and donner the poor Mogale in self-defence which he admits “exceeded the boundaries of private defence and”, claiming he “had no intention to murder the deceased, assaulted him” – he however, continued to “negligently” fail to “foresee my actions might cause his death” which they did. And for that you get to pay the deceased’s family R750 000 once-off?  That he had no prior history of violence and that he was some kind of a “gentle giant” should not have had any bearing on his sentencing, I think. This is because not only were his actions murderous, dangerous and evil but that they were done with the intention – negligently or not – to cause bodily harm and kill a human being. I am not sure whether or not attorney Rudi Krause’s comments that “forgiveness was asked for and given” during a long and emotional meeting with Mogale’s family meant the monetary forgiveness of a once-off payment of R750 000.

Like Roux’s spokesperson James Adams said, I too, do not believe the attack had anything to do with racism but I suspect the get-away compensation to the family has everything to do with racism. The family spokesman Richard Taukgobong apparently said the family was satisfied that the plea bargain agreement had resulted in justice for all although money would never bring his brother back. What “justice for all” Richard? Are you nuts? Or Richards means that a family breadwinner’s life was been taken away “negligently” as admitted by the perpetrator and paid for by monetary “forgiveness [that] was asked for and given”? Oh please Richard …. And that the family accepted Roux’s “version of the events that night” yet denying that Mogale had been corrupt is beyond me.

I agree with one Facebooker who said that: “The rule [of compensation] remains an insult for the value we say we add to human life”. Another columnist said that: “we have become so complacent that there are people involved in serious machination of what happens… We ought to be marching somewhere to demonstrate our disgust at the decision. This is how the [Rupert] Murdoch’s family was brought down”. Another Facebooker who somewhat seemed to have thought the compensation was good said that: “Let’s say the guy goes and sits in jail for murder and given 15 years. We would have him qualify for parole after 5 years depending on his behaviour. At the same time the victims [being the kids and wife] would be suffering and struggling to make ends meet. Bad as it may sound, the money gives them [Mogale’s family] an opportunity to study and have a strong chance of making something of their lives depending on how the elders manage the funds going forward”. Aren’t we settling for less if that’s what we would accept of or from our criminals? Is a black man’s life that cheap for just about R750 000 once-off?

Others, on the other hand, said on Facebook that the family should have pursued the case via a civil claim as that way it would have gotten more money than they now have received or will receive from Roux. But that would not bring the poor Mogale back mos? Nor would that compensation from Roux bring the poor man back to life.

Assuming the first two reasons given above on why Roux was made to make that payment to Mogale’s family do not stand – I would therefore gladly appreciate if the last two reasons are closely looked into as I suspect they played a major role in this sorry-saga. So if it is not that the cops are not failing us as a society with its “plea bargaining agreement” with criminals, this could mean that the same justice system is failing the very same community it is meant to protect from criminals like Roux. Or could it be that my take on this case is as exactly explained by Gill Moodie that: “because this is South Africa it will become charged with racial sensitivities: the police officer was black while Roux is the quintessential rugby-playing Afrikaner: a 120kg giant from the far-flungNorthern Cape”. But whatever it is, I think Roux bought his forgiveness and that’s not how it works.

That Vusumuzi Ntloko had helped himself to Roux’s credit card after he picked it up at the scene of R8 000 probably served him well although that, too, comes with jail term price. And I wonder, too, if Roux will be able to forgive Ntloko – and probably further compensate him too – for blowing his credit card amper to the limit?

I mean the guy’s got money to buy his murdererness out. Doesn’t he?

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