FOLKS, you spend an average of R100-billion per year (double the defence force budget) to be protected by around 400 000 private security guards (more than the entire police and defence forces), but you’re no safer from criminals than if you were a quadriplegic lying next to a lion pride’s watering hole and yet never seem to ask why this is so.
Like it or not, most of you are unwilling to confront the reality of living in a crime-riddled country and the need urgently to address the political and socio-economic factors which drive it.
When you’re told somebody patrols the premises, you act as if there’s an imminent threat, or if your protector carries a weapon, immediately treat him/her as a would-be attacker.
Simultaneously, the South African media have refused to publish advice on what citizens can do in the event of a robbery or terrorist attack at shopping malls because the vast majority of you are hysterically paranoid and there’s too great a risk of serious revenue loss due to your assumption that something is happening or will happen next time you set foot in a mall. Sound illogical, doesn’t it?
Then why do you engage in such thinking? Furthermore, the public have attributed too much competence to criminals, often saying that prisons are crime universities.
If that were true, most criminals wouldn’t be caught and imprisoned repeatedly. The truth is criminals are not that smart, you just keep making the same basic mistakes over and over again.
“We must do something,” you say. Then two weeks after a neighbourhood watch is started, you don’t want to get out of bed for that 3am patrol, and instead hire an armed response company to provide a 24-hour dedicated patrol service which will fight and die for you.
Besides civic cowardice, unreasoned hysteria and “criminal masterminds”, the newest bogeymen on the block are foreign majority-owned security firms. Because, wouldn’t you know it, security guards are capable of overthrowing the government. Yeah, right.
Folks, security guards are far too busy trying to survive with insufficient information, equipment and pay to be able to think of engaging in a coup d’etat with a radio, a pair of handcuffs and pepper spray. Just what went into the cigarettes of those who alleged such nonsense?
The knowledge of how to destabilise a country and execute a coup d’etat is held by very few people, the majority of whom are senior military and intelligence officials along with a few gifted amateurs, and no security guard I ever met possessed it. Instead of indulging in movie-type fantasies, it’s probably better to ask how many times politicians’ requests for bribes from international security firms were refused, because this is the most likely explanation for what is happening now.
-M Negres, Port Elizabeth .