Sunday, January 28, 2007

"Stop Panicking About Crime" - Selebi plays politics while the country bleeds

Zapiro cartoon on corruption

"What's all the fuss about crime, and its effect on the 2010 World Cup given that the situation has improved since South Africa boasted the Rugby World Cup 12 years ago?" National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi asked MPs this week.
Mr Selebi is playing cheap politics while the country bleeds. Crime is far more invasive now than it was then, and more people have been affected by crime since the Rugby World Cup. Take for example, the Polack family, whom I know.
A Family Ravaged By Crime
Their story made it to the front page of The Star this week. The entire family has been affected by crime, most of it since the Rugby World Cup: hijackings, burglaries, etc.
Then there is my brother, who was hijacked in his own driveway. Fortunately the family in the house didn't see it. The stolen vehicle is now being used as a taxi in Midrand, and the Midrand police have refused to impound the vehicle on the grounds that they are busy with an "ongoing investigation". More likely "ongoing corruption"!
I have been mugged twice, and my car broken into twice, all since the World Cup. Mr Selebi, whose own reputation is somewhat dubious ofter the Kebble murder, is doing what any idiot politician can do: play with stats. That isn't going to be of much comfort to the families of victims who are killed before 2010, or the visitors who get mugged, beaten, hijacked or raped during the next world cup.
We are at war with ourselves
And on the day he addressed parliament, a prominent historian was murdered in KwaZulu Natal. Mr Selebi should resign; but he won't because he has no backbone. That's why his department is in such a mess in the first place. He should be fired, but then his job is secure because the person who should fire him hasn't fired the infamous Minister of Health either.


Anonymous said...

Donn, I'm only responding to the Star article - don't believe too much of what the newspapers say or imply. In their front page report they imply that every member of the family has been subjected to crime. The sub-headine is slighter more accurate
"Every single person in these pictures has been traumatised by attacks". You've got to read the fine-print to see that at least one person has been traumatised because her daughter was affected by crime. If I knew the family, I'd also be traumatised (I'm very timid :) ).
I think there is a difference, if only slight, in someone being a direct victim of crime and someone affected by crime.

Using the Star's logic it's true to say that prior to 1990, 40 million people were victims/affected by crime, and therefore the crime rate has dropped by 98%.

Donn Edwards said...

If your house is burgled are you only traumatised or affected by the crime if you actually saw the burglars?

If your mom's car was hijacked on the way to collect you from school, do you remain unaffected next time you get in the car?

I'm not saying that the wording of the article wasn't over-dramatic, but I can assure you the crime wasn't any less dramatic. It's a sad state of affairs when we are not surprised when someone is hijacked, but relieved they weren't shot.