The way to defeat crime is in our hands

2009-10-06 10:24

WHEN Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa announced the crime statistics

for the 2008/09 fiscal year, one thing was clear: crime is not only a threat to

our safety – it is also hostile to job creation and, in particular, to the

development of SMMEs.

Small and medium business owners have not got the means to invest

in costly measures such as private security companies . The threat of crime to

this section of South Africa’s business community is also a threat to the

entrepreneurial spirit of its people.

Criminals violate other people’s constitutional rights, including

the right to not be deprived of freedom arbitrarily or without just cause, not

to be tortured in any way and not to be treated or punished in a cruel, inhuman

or degrading manner.

Who are these criminals who continue to menace our communities? Do

they not live among us? Do we not know them? What exactly is it that helps them

get away with the terror they continue to unleash on innocent and law-abiding

South Africans?

What we all know is that criminals are not pursuing any “just

cause”. In fact, their cause is to make money without having to work for it, and

anyone who stands in the way of them achieving their objective faces brutal

assault or even violent death.

A superficial observation of the crime situation in South Africa

points to two main contributing factors (there are many others). The first is a

ruthless desire to accumulate wealth without having to break a sweat. The second

is easy access to a market for criminal gains and to hiding places for


Mthethwa announced that between April 1 last year and March 31 this

year, “the number of reported business robbery cases increased by 41.5% when

compared to the same period in the previous fiscal year”. This is


When we, so-called law-abiding South Africans, buy and store in our

homes stolen goods, we are in essence implicating ourselves in the crime

syndicate network.

As law-abiding citizens we all need to close down the market for

criminals and further expose those among us who commit such evil acts.

As communities, working hand in hand with our law-enforcement

authorities, we can defeat the criminals and create safer communities in which

our entrepreneurs can put their skill to good use without fear.

When an unemployed parent is forced to close his or her spaza shop

before dark for fear of being robbed, the little daily income dwindles and what

is usually the family’s only source of income becomes a casualty of crime.

The South African Police Service has already entered into

partnerships with concerned yet motivated parties in the private business

industry and communities, with the formation of community policing forums. Our

task as law-abiding citizens is to launch more initiatives of this kind to

achieve our common goal of making South Africa a safer place for all to live


In your little corner or space, I challenge you to just imagine how

safe South Africa would be if we, as a collective, undertook to work more

closely with our law-enforcement authorities in the fight against crime.

This country of ours is wonderful, but we can make it even more

wonderful by joining hands in rooting out the criminals who violate our rights,

threaten our children’s safety and future and imperil our entrepreneurial


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