From the corner of Paul Kruger and Madiba Street the target is approaching, and the barked commands from behind the banks of lenses turn suddenly anxious: “Hold… Hold… HOLD… Wait… Wait… HOLD… Hold… Wait.”
When Oscar Pistorius was granted bail in February 2013 shock was expressed from many quarters, resulting in allegations in the media that Pistorius received special treatment due to his celebrity status. This sense of public consternation seemed to heighten further when Pistorius successfully challenged his onerous bail conditions, resulting in the return of his passport to his lawyers and limited permission to travel. Notably though, such consternation was not expressed by the South African legal community. And there is good reason for this – the outcome of Pistorius’ bail hearings is utterly in keeping with the South African law regulating bail. In fact, the frequent expressions of outrage from the public at bail decisions are rooted in a fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose and function of bail.
Fatimatu Yamsa knew that her desperate attempt to flee the slaughter all around her had failed as soon as she saw the Christian anti-balaka militia at a roadblock. Fatimatu was on a truck in Boali, about 100 kilometres north-west of Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic. Knowing she was about to die, Fatimatu pleaded with the Christian woman next to her to take her seven-month-old baby and pretend it was the woman’s own.