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Thursday, September 28, 2006

South African crime stats: 'rosier' an oxymoron

The South African government has just released its annual crime stats.

Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula said that the "future looks even rosier than the present."

It amazes me that we still have Martians as government ministers in parliament. That is all I can think of when the minister makes a statement like that! "Rosier!" Using that word makes the assumption that South Africa is indeed 'rosy!" What planet is the minister from anyway?

The last time I checked, 18,528 murders a year is not 'rosy!" We have more murders in a year than there are casualties in one year of the Iraq War! Can we call South Africa 'rosy' while there are 54,926 reported rapes a year and 9,805 reported indecent assault cases a year?

It seems to me that the minister has a problem expressing himself. He had such problems before!

It seems our Safety and Security Minister is like an alcoholic in denial. The only way to cure an alcoholic is to get him to a point in his life where he can face the facts and actually stop denying the problem! I think that Minister Nqakula is still in denial about the problems South Africans face in relation to crime. How else can we explain his flowery language about our situation? The reason why crime is still as high as it is, is because our government does not see the problems on the ground!

The problem we as South Africans face is that our law is weak. Why do I say that? When the consequences to crime in this country are snickered at by criminals, because crime actually pays, then the law has lost its effect and has become weak! When parents that pimp their own daughters as prostitutes only get 5 effective years in jail for such a heinous crime, then we can say that the law is weak since it has no teeth!

Our law is weak because criminals, as soon as they are caught, have more rights than their victims! In the Bill of Rights of the South African Constitution of 1996, a criminal's rights in Section 35 comprise of 5 subsections, 27 sub-subsections and 8 sub-sub-subsections. The Bill of Rights never mentions the victim's rights in relation to any crimes suffered!

Once the government acknowledges and faces up to the stark reality of a nation at war with itself and enters the daily battles that South Africans fight, perhaps then we might be able to win the war against crime!

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