Do you fit the crime profile?

2013-05-13 00:00

THIS is a follow-up to Dr Zweli Mkhize’s son’s incident.

Last week, I was reminded of the nineties, especially in Pretoria where I was called “kaffir”. One is not oblivious of crime in the area. But the crime issue should not be used as the reason to be racist.

Crime knows no colour. If one were to analyse the statistics well, one would probably see that the most affected group is black, mainly because of numbers. When criminals rob a house, they don’t care whether the occupants are white or black. The contents in the houses are the same. They are interested in what is inside.

Is Hillcrest being targeted or do its residents make enough noise for everyone to think they are the only ones being hit? That would be my exercise to try to understand the situation. I stay in the area and am also very scared at night. As much as I am affected by the crime situation, is this not happening in other areas?

I like the noise that is being made as it will benefit me, too. The problem I have is when this situation has skin colour. One evening last week, I momentarily stopped outside where I was staying to conclude a very serious phone call. I could not come into the house as my kids would have interrupted the call. I noticed a car coming out of the next estate gate (neighbour). I could see him taking pictures of my car. I felt maybe he was not comfortable with me stopping there, which I understood under the current situation. I moved on slowly and he followed me. I drove into a well-lit business area. He followed and parked adjacent to me. He asked who I was and I told him that I was one of his neighbours. I also told him where I work and even provided proof of my identity to him. By then I was expecting an apology and an explantion for his apprehension; which I would have understood. I got the opposite. He called me f…g stupid and said it is people of my colour who are committing crime. He said because it is people of my colour who are committing crime, I should speak to them. This went on for more than five minutes as I was trying to prove to him that I am not a criminal. This I did not have to do. I should have simply told him to go jump, but I didn’t because I felt I understood his anxieties.

When he eventually left both our tempers were high and he left still swearing at me. I have reported the case to the police. The criminals have taken over the minds of human beings and turned normally rational people into animals. I am saddened that we have reached this low point in our country. This situation is exposing those harbouring racist tendencies.

Crime is a reality. It affects everyone. There is no immune group. But if you live in Hillcrest, are black and driving a GP car (I moved from Johannesburg), you really have to be very careful. You fit the profile of a criminal.

• Dr Sifiso T. Mtshali is the chief executive officer of the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital.

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