It’s criminal only if it’s personal!!!

2013-01-10 15:10

We all know that South Africa and many other countries is plagued by crime at levels that make it one of the most dangerous places in the world. Crimes such as murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, rape and housebreaking are some of the most common ones in our developing African nation. These are some of the reasons expatriate South Africans list when they decide to immigrate to “apparently” crime sparse Australia.

It’s no secret that crime is one of the major challenges that our beloved country is faced with. This is why it is imperative that every South African’s attitude must be to obliterate the scourge and not booking a first class ticket to Oz.

“If it hasn’t happened to me, it doesn’t affect me!”

This seems to be the general consensus of most people in all of SAs communities. I know up until recently I was so de-attached (or so I thought) from crime that I it was something I read about in newspapers or caught a glimpse of as a two minute story during the 7 pm daily news on television.

What triggered my sense of duty in ridding this country of crime is the complacent attitude we seem to have adopted when it comes to serious offences such as murder and rape.

To prove this, certain areas in this country are known for high levels of criminal activity going on there. For example Khayelitsha makes news for being the place where neck- lacing has made a come back because of the alleged breakdown in the relationship between the community and police. Havover Park and Lavender Hill are infamous for being a gang infested violent area where young children are caught in the crossfire almost every second day as rival sides fight for drug territory.

While instances like these deserve out right condemnation (not just on Twitter and Facebook) it’s as though we have come to accept these brutal crimes as part of our society. Just because you live in a swanky apartment in Rondebosch or in an ostentatious mansion protected by high walls in Clifton, what happens in these areas is your problem because you are a citizen of this country. It might not directly affect you but it’s a problem that’s threatening to persist and will eventually spill over to your “safer” community if a collective solution by government, civil organisations and the community is not found.

Crime is Crime

Not trivialising the horrible alleged hit and run that claimed the life of famed cyclist Burry Stander a couple of weeks ago, the outrage and horror South Africans expressed after his death is exactly how we should react no matter whom and where the criminal act takes place. As it is continuously said that SA is one the most violent countries in the world, this should adequate in motivating us to fight crime before we personally become victims of it (I know how much we value our material possessions).

Just because someone famous is murdered today, should not take precedent over someone who was killed in Nyanga two days back. The approach should be to fight this pandemic and root it out to safe guard our communities instead taking into account the victim’s social pedigree or what kind of media headlines it will generate before deciding its seriousness. This will go a long way in proving to criminals that we will not let them hold power over us whether we in our homes, cars, hangout spots and the workplace.

We have concluded the festive season, a time meant to be a jolly filled with laughter and relaxation but for some families it was a time of mourning as SA road carnage claimed 1400 lives since it began. Some lives were lost because people were drinking and driving, driving and texting, speeding and operating road unworthy vehicles. This clearly illustrates that an immense number of us have a disregard for the law because we have the mentality that disobeying road rules is as serious as rape or murder.

Until we start taking all forms of crime a seriously, until we stop asking what a rape victim did to “provoke” the assault, until we start being outraged about every murder no matter whom the victim is or where it took place, we will only recognise crime when it directly affects us.

Until then I guess there is always the option of moving to Australia where crime seems to be something only common in Baz Luhrmann films.

You can catch me on twitter @BongaDlulane…

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