Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Debunking South Africa's crime rate.

With just under a year before the world's most popular sport descends on South Africas shores, figures just released show that the country's crime rate is far from rescinding. South Africa is the world's most crime riddled nation with a woman being raped every 18 seconds, and numerous murders occuring per day. President Zuma earlier this year appointed a tough talking and seemingly no nonsense police chief who promised to wipe crime off the face of South Africa. However, the figures on the ground are speaking a different story.

The South African crime rate is a problem that does not require populist politicking like President Zuma is always doing. It is a manifestation of centuries of segregation, political upheavals and inadequate distribution of wealth. It needs a multi-faceted approach. South Africa must embark on a massive job creation exercise twinned with a massive roll out of adult education. Most of the middle aged South Africans have never seen the insides of a classrooom, especially the ones that did not go into exile during the 80s and early 90s when apartheid was reighning supreme. During my stay in South Africa, I was amazed at how some South Africans view the killing of another being as being the equal to just killing a goat for a meal. I blame ignorance for such a warped view about life. Education helps in cultivating values and subsequently morals in human beings.

The inequal distribution of wealth makes some sections of South African society to believe that it is right to rob from others who have amassed undeserving wealth. South Africa is a developed country in some sections, and poorer than the poorest place on earth in others. You do not need to be a rocket scientist to know that if there is poverty in a sea of plenty then there is trouble.

The political leadership, black and white, ruling and opposition, must come together and address these issues. The police alone will never be able to curb crime, even if you go and train them on the moon...


  1. Crime is always a symptom of a disease and not a disease itself. Hence, to get the symptom away you first tackle the disease. Here the disease as you have pointed out is the unequal distribution of wealth, which was started, exacerbated and ensured by the apartheid government. Thus, though education does not make one extremely rich it does not make one extremely poor. It is therefore imperative that the wealth of the nation is seen to be shared equally according to locations. Even if possible special attention should be given to areas that need special attention. For instance, rapid development of roads, affordable housing and instituting of mass scholarship schemes for such individuals of school-going age and making sure that school is compulsory. The opening up of vocational institutions for those whom school is an impossibility is also imperative. The people should feel the benefits of the resources. But all these are impossible if the government is capitalist oriented. That's why I don't believe in pure capitalism. America is even facing problems with its Health system and Obama is tagged as a socialist now. We need certain socialist mentality to solve social problems. Crime is a social problem and it increases rapidly if the gap between the rich and the poor increases (ref. Kuznet curve) and that's the fallout of capitalism. One man is 50bn dollar richer and another digs trenches in a Soweto sun and earns less than 1 dollar a day. We need to take practical steps to solve such pressing problems.

    Thanks for raising this. I hope it is not politically downplayed for I hate it when politicians play politics with the lives of our folks. I hate it when we want to make profit from every activity as if money rates higher than life. I hate it when we cannot reason and solve our own problems.

  2. The level of ignorance in South Africa is astonishing. People have no skills, no desire and zeal to work, they want easy and fast money...and that is the root of all evil. The South African governments, seem bent on equipping the police, recruiting more officers and many other wasteful tactics. We need to trace thr root cause of the problem before we can solve it. It will take time, the crime rate in South Africa will not fall in a day.