South Africa, Our Violent Country

GOOD Statement by Brett Herron,
GOOD Secretary-General & Member of Parliament

23 November 2022

South African will remain a violent, crime-ridden place until the violent structure of its past and present, characterized by social, spatial and economic exclusion, is holistically acknowledged and addressed.

Poverty is not an excuse for crime. But what grinding poverty does is erode the dignity and self-esteem of individuals, destroy community cohesion, and create conditions fertile for law-breaking.

This is particularly so in a society of extreme inequality in which the poor are constantly exposed to the lavish lives of the rich, and the benefits that wealth brings.

And, even more, so in a society that recently emerged from authoritarianism but has failed to prioritise accountability, restitution and redress. Those forced down the socio-economic ladder because of the colour of their skin continue to occupy the stinking bottom rungs.

Add to this mix a police, intelligence and criminal justice system that is so far behind the game that people feel able to commit crimes with impunity, because they’ll get away with it.

In these circumstances, despite all his warts, one can’t help feeling a little sorry for Police Minister Bheki Cele who has the task of reporting the quarterly crime statistics.

For all his huffing and puffing, Cele’s men and women in blue, cannot be held accountable for crime levels that scream the necessity for social and environmental interventions. The police are no more responsible for the levels of crime than the Department of Social Development or, arguably, the Department of Human Settlements.

Measures such as recruiting extra police, and increasing the level of police training will help, but only when government embarks on programmes to heal broken and dispirited people and communities – and address their exclusion – will we begin to starve the relentless crime wave of fuel.

Today’s announcement of an increase of 18,5% for all contact crimes, including murder, sexual offences and assault, is a national disgrace. That more than 7 000 people were murdered in the second quarter of the 2022/2023 financial year reflects a State that has lost touch with the needs of its people.

Our women and children continue to be prayed on by our men. Between July and September this year, 989 women were murdered, while in the six months, from April to September 2022, 558 children were killed.

Another 10 590 rape cases were reported between July and September, a 10,8% increase compared to last year.

The incidence of kidnapping doubled, with over 4 000 counts reported to police in the same period.

GOOD will continue to push ahead with its campaign against GBFV that encourages victims to break the silence and speak up!

When thousands of such campaigns exist in communities across the country, contributing to protecting our wives and daughters, and to nurturing and developing our children, we will begin to turn the corner.

Media Enquiries:

Brett Herron, GOOD Secretary-General & Member of Parliament
Cell: 0825183264

Janke Tolmay, GOOD Media Manager
Cell: 0733671223