Twenty-eight female guards were unfairly dismissed by a security company because the client‚ Metrora.
CAN we be sure that to act instinctively is better than to act rationally? That is a question philosophers have wrestled with for a very long time, yet there can be no doubt that hasty acts of irrationality may produce bad ends with consequences that might haunt nations for a long time.
Everybody knows that the crime situation in South Africa is out of control; that to many crime practitioners, this kind of life has become a way of life.
What can we do to put an end to a scourge as debilitating as the one facing our nation, in which criminal elements are hell-bent on destroying the fabric of our society through acts of crime?
Certainly, President Jacob Zuma and company, including National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele and Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, believe that the police need to act ruthlessly against dangerous suspects who pose a danger to life and limb, and that the police, confronted with them, must not hesitate but shoot to kill. For if they do not, the police themselves end up in the graveyard.
And so Zuma and company are in a desperate hurry to have Parliament amend section 49 of the Criminal Procedure Act so that the police will be allowed to use lethal force against violent criminal suspects.
But we are a constitutional democracy, and are enjoined by a Bill of Rights enshrined in our Constitution to preserve life since "everyone has the right to life", which, by implication, cannot be taken away even by police in the execution of their duty. To suggest that the police should be given the right to shoot to kill contradicts the spirit and letter of our constitutional democracy.
Already, police brutality is on the increase. These claims are given credence by internationally acclaimed organisations such as Amnesty International and our own SABC's Special Assignment programme. Police squads are allowed to act with impunity - to kill or execute criminal suspects in the most callous and cruel manner.
The Independent Complaints Directorate is saying so in so many words.
As South Africans we should be worried.
The police are now asking Parliament to amend section 49 of the Criminal Procedure Act to allow them to use excessive lethal force against violent criminals.
We all want protection from violence by criminals who are bent on taking control of our cities, towns, villages and our safe space for their own selfish ends, which often leads to death and mayhem.
But we cannot do this at the expense of undermining the human rights culture, which would allow police to operate outside the framework of the Constitution and a Bill of Rights.
If we did that the tendencies of a police state, characterised by authoritarianism and dictatorship, might take the centre stage, and slowly erode everything we hold dear, including our Constitution, and this might even threaten our right to engage in a free political discourse.
l The writer is an Anglo-Catholic priest attached to the Anglican Parish of St Philips, Thokoza