It was SABC news that broke the story about a young Eastern Cape Rugby Player and an alleged rape.
But it took Twitter to break the name of the payer as Khwezi Mafu, then to judge and determine his guilt and appropriate sentence before the law ran it’s course. Naturally the media (and MyPE) then ‘judged’ it okay to report on that and name the rapist so we are all complicit in this.
Then the Bulls issued a statement naming the King Williams Town born flanker educated at Dale Junior, Southdowns College and Grey High School educated Flanker/8th Man from the Eastern Province as a suspect in a rape case.
Acknowledging that young 19 year old (DOB: 29 March 1998) loose forward Khwezi Mafu was arrested on allegations of sexual assault the Bulls said in a statement; “We are not in a position to make any comments at this time, and will release a further statement once the legal system has run its course.”
As heinous as the act of rape is, or any other criminal act for that matter, one does begin to wonder if our modern ‘trial by social media’ has a negative influence on our justice system and the sentences meted out.
I find myself wondering if a Judge, when determining a suitable sentence for a guilty party, takes into consideration the volume of censure by social media and applies a level of leniency based on the perceived ‘punishment’ meted out by people not qualified or empowered to pronounce a verdict or sentence on an accused?
Are we sending a message to our judicial system that we know more than them, that we are so clever that we can make a snap judgement on right or wrong based on 5 seconds of attention span?
One last question; “What will happen now that MyPE publicly declared to be proud of certain rugby players (including Khwezi Mafu) achievements back in July 2016?” See: http://mype.co.za/new/we-are-proud-of-these-rugby-players/72909/2016/07.
Mafu made a brief court appearance in Port Elizabeth on charges of rape and robbery with aggravating circumstances. He appeared in the New Brighton Magistrate Court and the case was postponed to the 8th of January for a bail application.
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