An article in the Christian Science Monitor observes how crime has gotten much worse in South Africa since the end of apartheid.
Unemployment is running around 25 percent.
Thus the big cities such as Johannesburg have become seedbeds for robbery and violent hijacking, making crime South Africa's biggest problem. Sometimes it is the work of individuals; sometimes the work of organized gangs. One black editor, while in no way supporting the old apartheid regime, remarks wryly: "There was no city crime or unemployment in the old days. If you were a black without a [residence] pass and a letter from your boss saying you had a job, the police would run you out of town. Today, whether you are black or white, you take your life in your hands if you walk downtown at night."
Organizations that can afford extreme security measures use them.
In Johannesburg, homes and offices lie protected behind high walls topped with electrified wire. Security cameras and steel gates are common. The building housing British Airways is guarded by dogs and security officers with automatic weapons, dressed like members of a SWAT team. At the US consulate-general, where the threat may be from terrorism, as well as local crime, even Embassy-owned cars must negotiate hydraulically operated pylons, then a caged area where security officers check with mirrors under the car and open hoods and trunks, before permitting access.
Hijackings are so frequent that some car owners have the registration numbers of their vehicles painted on the roofs of their cars so police helicopters can better trace them. Says one diplomat: "A kid who might have to work 20 years to buy a car, says, 'The heck with that, I'll just go out and hijack one.' "
South African authorities were hoping to achieve a drop in crime in the 12 months ending in March this year of between seven and 10 per cent. Instead, recent figures show that murders increased by 2.4 per cent (to 19,202), bank robberies by 118 per cent, residential robberies by 24 per cent, car hijackings by six per cent, drug-related crimes by 8.2 per cent and commercial crimes by 12.6 per cent. The number of rapes (52,617) and attempted murders (20,142) decreased.
The official statistics are probably cooked to make the crime rates look lower than they really are. This article mentions that claim below. I've also heard the same claim from a South African white who tells me that statistics releases that used to happen very quickly are now delayed for months and years. He says the statistics in question are easy to prepare and he knows how it is done.
There were no figures for the number of foreigners targeted. Opposition parties claim that the true figures may, in fact, be much higher.
"Given that 32 per cent of all crimes are not reported to the police, we know that the crime rates are unacceptable," a spokesman for the Democratic Alliance party said. He added that, with a murder rate of 40.5 per 100,000 people, the number of killings in South Africa was eight times the world average.
The murder rate in Cape Town has dropped substantially from a high four years ago and has stabilised in recent years - but the city is still the murder capital of South Africa, says a study by the City of Cape Town.
The study has revealed that at the end of 2006 the murder rate was 57.3 per 100 000 of the population, down from 84.4 per 100 000 people in the 2002/03 period.
To put that in contrast to a really safe place In 2005 North Dakota's murder rate was 1.1 per 100,000.. For the entire United States the murder rate was 5.6 per 100,000 in 2005. Though in Washington DC the murder rate was 35.4 per 100,000. Why do you suppose that is?
In Johannesburg minibus taxi cab drivers literally fight over customers. (people who steal customers are obviously thieves)
"We have been fighting for two weeks and they won't listen," said the man, his 23 years in the business showing on his tired face. "They steal our customers."
His employees mostly use wooden bats to make their point, he said, but would resort to hitmen with guns if needed.
"This is a war. In wars, everyone uses mercenaries."
The police conducted 7750 roadblocks, 6029 cordon and search operations, 75 869 vehicle patrols and 79 881 foot patrols throughout the province in an effort to improve visibility.
Mr Cachalia said this resulted in a total of 672 168 vehicles being searched. This represents an additional 106 921 vehicles or an increase of 18.9 percent when compared to the same period in 2006, he said.
About 1.4 million people were searched, which is an increase of over 280 000 people who were searched during the same period last year.
Raw sewage flowing into Lake Chrissie is threatening to turn South Africa's largest natural freshwater body into a massive cesspool.
Environmentalists claim that for seven years, local authorities ignored their pleas to upgrade water treatment facilities; officials only took action, they say, when local revenue was affected by the closure of tourism routes such as biking trails, as a result of pollution.
Patients are turned away either because nurses and doctors are on strike or the nurse on duty couldn't make it to work because there was no transport from her home.
This might sound "mischievous" but a crippling fuel shortage means that there is no transport to work. In this southern Africa nation, it is understandable if workers either come to work three hours late or never turn up.
As a spin off of the economic crisis, patients are being diagnosed with various ailments and told to buy themselves medication from expensive, privately owned pharmacies beyond the reach of most Zimbabweans.
"We used Statistics SA's mid-year population estimates, which they get from the national census and comparing the figures we estimate that around an average 800 000 white South Africans have emigrated from 1995 until 2005. We put the number at no less than 500 000 and no more than 1,2-million."
The institute first published this figure in 2006. Although media reports at the time suggested white South Africans could have been under-counted in the 2001 census, Cronje said a major shrinkage in the white population led to that conclusion.
"The major gap was shown mostly in white men aged between 25 and 35 years old. This kind of pattern is usually shown in countries where there was a war and young men were killed. We don't have anything like that, so the assumption is that emigration was the cause."
``Kiwis argue with me about my Afrikaans rural culture and heritage, and I tell them we are very proud of our music, our food, our conservatism, our history. ``I say to the white Kiwis: what is your culture? And they have no answers.'' He says South Africa and Zimbabwe are pretty much finished as productive economies and are only surviving on foreign aid. ``The 2010 soccer world cup will open the eyes of the world to the mess there. The foreign visitors will be robbed and ripped off in every way imaginable. Then they will realise that white South Africa was not so bad. ``When they accept (like Angola, Mozambique, Zambia) that they can't recover without the white man's help, they will start importing white advisers. But first they have to hit the bottom and that will take 30-40 years.'
The demographic outlook for South Africa is worse than the reported net out migration of whites suggests. Those whites who are leaving are both younger and more technically competent than those who stay behind. When the older white white managers, engineers, and technicians retire the next generation won't be there to take over. Even worse, racial preferences laws will make it hard for the younger generation whites to take over anyway. So the competence shortage will intensify and components of the economy that now work will cease to do so.
I am curious to know the trend of average age of workers in various professions in South Africa. My guess is average age is rising, especially among the more competent. In which occupations will the loss of competency cause the biggest disruptions to the economy? I'm thinking the legal system and police need competence the most. Without security and the ability to enforce contracts all other sectors of the economy will suffer.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2007 August 25 10:51 AM Civilizations Decay|