Government completely at sea on crime pandemic
There is very little we don’t know about how South African politics work.
We know how the rot starts, we know how it unfolds, and we know very well that it ends with an incompetent and out-of-its-depth government standing, sheepishly and with hands on hips, staring at the mess it has created.
“I am shocked,” the president might wail at this point, as if he is an alien from outer space and totally unaware of the problems that buffet his country and hammer his people.
This past week left me feeling, once again, that we are sliding further into the grip of a crime pandemic that has been relentlessly on the rise for three decades.
And the authorities, now as before, have absolutely no clue about where we go from here except for the certainty that it is even further down.
Early in the week we heard that transport minister Sindisiwe Chikunga and her two bodyguards were robbed of their belongings and the protectors’ guns while changing a punctured tyre on the N3 highway between Vosloorus and Heidelberg.
On social media groups, many fairly decent people were ecstatic, saying “finally politicians are feeling what ordinary folk have to face every single day”.
An even more distressing, but less high-profile, story happened later in the week.
Sicelubuhle Moyo was standing outside the Randburg magistrate’s Court on Wednesday. She was about to do something extremely terrifying but incredibly brave: testify against four policemen accused of torturing her.
She had been threatened with death numerous times for choosing to seek justice.
As she waited with her partner, Wilfred Dube, a man walked up to them and shot Moyo in the face.
Then he shot Dube in the head.
They both died instantly.
The assassin fled.
The couple had three children, aged 8, 10, and 12. They will carry the scars of these murders for the rest of their lives.
There will, of course, be a “manhunt” for the robbers in Chikunga’s case.
Of course there will: she is a minister.
But this kind of crime happens every day, many times, to ordinary people, across SA.
The victims report the crimes to the police — and nothing happens.
Moyo and Dube’s killer won’t be found, either.
It is telling for me that in interviews about her ordeal, Chikunga invokes God several times.
She told TimesLIVE: “God had mercy on us. I was the only woman there and I was scared.”
On News24, she said: “What they didn’t take was an iPad, which they left in one of the bags that we used. God has mercy on us.”
She said nothing about the police and their investigative or crime prevention capabilities.
She sits next to police minister Bheki Cele in the cabinet.
Like us, she knows that crime is out of control and the cabinet and the police ministry are totally incapable of doing anything about it.
After 29 years of police promises to solve car hijackings, rapes, heists, murders, house break-ins (all of them have risen relentlessly for the past three decades), what I can write with authority is do not expect the government to solve crime.
Do expect, however, that some smart politician will soon come up with a plan to get ministers protected by private security guards — because that works.
Don’t believe me?
Why did the former Eskom board go to private security to solve problems with Eskom procurement syndicates?
The police could not do it.
Don’t expect the State Security Agency to help with crime in SA.
Minister in the presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said last week that the spooks were monitoring the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas — and that South Africans participating in that war would be prosecuted.
We have the world’s worst crime problem and our spooks are hunting down Israeli soldiers.
Are these ministers being served umqombothi in cabinet?
This is the same SSA that still has not helped with evidence to convict the masterminds of the July 2021 riots which led to 354 people dying.
Interestingly, the SA government has expended more energy, issued more statements, and travelled far wider, on the issue of Israel-Hamas than it has lifted a finger about the more than 500 robberies and the almost 70 murders a day that took place in the country from April to June this year.
That’s right: 70 murders a day.
There isn’t a single category of crime in SA that has not shot through the roof in the past 29 years.
Our ministers have no plans to solve this except to ask for God’s mercy.
The solution is simple.
Last week’s events once again illustrate just how abundantly the current crop of leaders has failed.
The president has failed spectacularly to hold any of the security cluster ministers and officials accountable.
There is an election next year. South Africans can continue like this, or they can vote to bench the ANC.
Would you like to comment on this article?
Register (it's quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.