Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Truth or Untruth - Crime In South Africa

In 2000, Jim Peron wrote: There is a joke going around: Americans have Bill Clinton, Johnny Cash and Bob Hope. South Africans have Nelson Mandela, no cash and no hope. See Die, the Beloved Country (South Africa)

A joke that was send to me last week:

The Kaizer Chiefs manager flies to Baghdad to watch a young Iraqi play football and is suitably impressed and arranges him to come over to South Africa. Two weeks later Kaizer Chiefs are 4-0 down to Supersport with only 20 minutes left. The manager gives the young Iraqi striker the nod and on he goes.

The lad is a sensation - scores 5 goals in 20 minutes and wins the game for Kaizer Chiefs!
The fans are delighted, the players and coaches are delighted and the media love the new star.

When the player comes off the pitch he phones his mum to tell her about his first day in South African football. "Hello mum, guess what?" he says in an Iraqi accent. "I played for 20 minutes today, we were 4-0 down but I scored 5 and we won. Everybody loves me, the fans, the media, they all love me."

"Wonderful," says his mum, "Let me tell you about my day. Your father got shot in the street and robbed, your sister and I were ambushed, gang raped and beaten and your brother have joined a gang of looters and all while you were having such great time."

The young lad is very upset, "What can I say mum, but I'm so sorry."

"Sorry?!!! Sorry?!!!" says his mum, "It's your bloody fault we moved to Johannesburg in the first place!"

Crime has become the biggest talking point in South Africa, and rightly so. According to First National Bank's statistics:

420,154 citizens were victims of violent crime in 2006,
18,528 murders were committed,
54,926 rapes took place, (1 every 9 minutes)
119,726 violent robberies were executed.

Anti-crime websites and blogs are blooming like tulips in early spring. Some websites are even talking genocide, especially when referring to the systematic killing of White farmers. To many there is a startling similarity between these killings in South Africa and what has happened in Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe, where all white farmers have been either killed or dispossessed of their property. Today, Zimbabwe is still a killing field, a place where one man is killing a people of the country, his own people, a genocide of the highest order. Is this a South African genocide in the making?

Systematic is a strong word and to lay that at the feet of a government is an even stronger action, but if crime is so widely reported and a government is not doing anything definitive about it or in some cases flatly denied it, then suspicions of government involvement or approval of these acts are all that’s left. On the one hand you have the government and people close to the ruling class that say or insinuate that crime statistics are being taken out of context or are being unfairly reported to put the government in a bad light.

In the Weekend Argus of December 30, 2006 on Page 10, correspondent Pieter Boshoff wrote:

These are the words of ANC deputy president Jacob Zuma in an interview with
German magazine, Der Spiegel:

"Our media, which is very open and report on really everything, tend to exaggerate the crime issue. In other countries, newspapers and broadcast stations are patriotic and are far less interested in things that could damage their countries’ reputations in the world. This is why one gets the impression that we have much more crime than other countries. In our case the media goes too far when it comes to openness. Of course, it would be even better if the media would report this openly in all countries, but unfortunately that isn’t the case."

There you have a near-official version of the crime situation in South Africa. The reason why everybody thinks we have severe crime, is only because of the unpatriotic (irresponsible) media that exaggerate the crime situation.

This blogger would like to add. If this severe crime situation existed in other parts of the world, does Jacob Zuma think that the New York Times or the Washington Post or Der Spiegel would not report on the situation or would blatantly lie as to not damage their country? He obviously has no knowledge of a real free press or he simply does not have any tolerance for a free press. And this man, who has been stripped of the country’s Vice Presidency because of claims of corruptions and rape against him, may become the next president of South Africa.

What baffles me even more is what happened two weeks ago when First National Bank decided to stand down (chickened out is probably a better phrase) and not handout a
pamphlet or run a TV ad about stopping crime in South Africa. The aim of the FNB initiative was to pressurized President Thabo Mbeki to make crime his top priority. And to show that there are people out there that care about the crime situation. They care because it impacts their lives in so many ways. People are dying, investors are staying away, a brain drain is taking place, and it is costing them billions in higher insurance, more business and personal security, and in any other possible way you can think off.

Mbeki, Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula and National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi have all publicly denied that crime is out of control. According to the
Sunday Times a Government spokesman Themba Maseko said the FNB campaign was "incitement" against Mbeki.

"Positioning themselves as an opposition party is not appropriate ... Trying to incite people to behave in a certain way towards the head of state cannot be condoned," Maseko said. The Sunday Times further claims that officials of the Presidency met with FNB officials to convince (pressurized?) the bank’s officials not to go ahead with the campaign "…in light of the ANC’s succession battle"

For Americans and people in the rest of the world reading this, let me put this in another perspective.
Mbeki is not up for election, so the succession battle has nothing to do with him, but still nothing bad should be reported that puts him in a bad light? OR, closer to home: Because the 2008 Presidential election has started, in which George Bush has no dog in that fight, no one should report anything bad about the war in Iraq to embarrass him?

Yes I know it doesn’t make any sense because these things aren’t related, but I guess to the South African government every one will be too stupid to not realize that there is no relation. Or maybe no one will make the connection that Mbeki does not want to do anything about the crime situation because it actually has the stamp of government (read ANC) approval. It's maybe even quietly ANC sponsored.

Truth or untruth? All I know is that if South Africa had a CNN or a Fox News or a MSNBC that investigate and speculate 24 hours a day on politics like here in the US, crime would have been the staple topic for them.

All I know is that a people of a beautiful country (Black, White and Colored) is being murdered and raped and subjected to all forms of violent crimes and the official government is not doing much about it. They don't even want to talk about it and they certainly are not taking the necessary action.

Websites and blogs that concentrate far more than me on this subject are:

South Africa - The bad news - http://zaregime.blogspot.com/
The Right Perspective -
Cry for help -
South Africa The Truth -
South Africa Crime Watch -
Crime is out of control -
South Africa Sucks - http://southafricasucks.blogspot.com/

Websites that try to tell the good news about South Africa:

The Homecoming Revolution - http://www.homecomingrevolution.co.za/

Research Note: TNS Research Surveys, a national research company, found that amongst the country’s 12.4 million urban families, one million said someone close to them had been robbed or burgled during the last six months of 2006.

Findings in the report, The State of South Africans 2007, which was released on February 4, 2007, also included:
· 200 000 households reported direct experience of murder in the same period;
· 150 000 families said someone close had been raped; and
· 500 000 reported either a car theft or a hijacking in their immediate circle.


protocolinpractice said...

I can see you really love South Africa and I can feel your longing for rugby and Afrikaans music and all the things you grew up with.

But the way we grew up was wrong - I asume you grew up in pre '94 South Africa.

Apartheid was declared a crime against humanity. The damage of decades of loss of dignity, inferior education, no access to opportunities and so much more depravation and inhumanity is coming back to bite us as a society big time.

Transformation is a process - it can't happen overnight.

I also often long for my childhood days when there were no high walls and you didn't have to lock everything up.

But I know that everything I am and that I've got today as a white South African, I got at the cost of others.

There are great and postitive things happening in South Africa besides the crime- maybe they're not as spectacular.But our country is getting better and moving forward. Ons moet net bietjie vasvyt!

BluegrassBaobab said...

Protocolinpractice, I am certainly glad to hear there are positives happening. It just does not seems to be reported.