Video Footage Of Violence Has Been Upsetting South Africans — And It May Not Even Be Admissable In Court

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ViolenceSouth Africans have been shocked by a recent spate of violent assaults captured on social media.

Such footage, which has included deputy minister Mduduzi Manana allegedly hitting a woman in a nightclub and a girl being punched and kicked at Siyathuthuka High School in Inanda, quickly goes viral and can help bring the perpetrators to justice.

But is such video footage admissable as evidence in a court of law?

Wits law professor Stephen Tuson said a video by itself is not admissible unless there is acceptable evidence demonstrating its reliability — and this can be very hard to prove.

“It is not a walk in the park to be able to use the video as evidence,” he said.

Tuson explained that modern technology make it quite easy for people to be able to tamper with digital evidence.

“Merely handing in a video is not going to help. [The court needs to know] who took the video, with what device, when did they take it, how has the video been protected, has it been tampered with, has it been altered, have they used Photoshop to enhance it…” he said.

Professor Tuson said that once these aspects have been assessed to be acceptable, then the footage can be used in court. If the reliability of the footage cannot be proven, then it will not have any weight.

Here are five shocking videos which have caused dismay in South Africa in recent months.
(Warning: this contains footage some viewers may find upsetting.)

A KwaZulu-Natal schoolgirl being beaten up by her peer at the Siyathuthuka High School in Inanda.

A racist attack which happened at the KFC in Montana, Pretoria.

Footage of the owner of an Ocean Basket in Benoni assaulting a staff member.