Magazine article The Spectator

Where Crime Rules Supreme

Magazine article The Spectator

Where Crime Rules Supreme

Article excerpt

From Johan Alberts Sir: Sadly, Rian Malan's assessment of the South African saga is all too true ('South Africa's future will not be civil war but sad decay', 14 October). Corruption and incompetence are our daily lot but it is crime, particularly crime of a barbaric variety, that we most dread. All but the very poor have been forced into installing elaborate security around their homes to protect, as far as is possible, family and property. If your car breaks down anywhere outside a busy area, you could be in mortal danger. When approaching a red traffic light, the utmost vigilance is called for. Leaving your home for a stroll after nightfall is a distant memory (unless it's in a shopping mall). Our (reported) murder rate averages 1,500 per month.

No one is safe, except for our black elite.

Such is life in the much trumpeted, newly won South African democracy, and until our government decides to take off its kid gloves, if it is able to, we will see no change.

Johan Alberts Johannesburg, South Africa From Henry Martin Sir: Rian Malan finds much to worry about in the new South Africa. Here's an even more ominous sign: that particular edition of The Spectator never arrived at our local bookstore. Could this be a case of bad news being embargoed? It's becoming ever more obvious that our government hates the spotlight, and hates being held accountable even more.

Henry Martin Johannesburg, South Africa From Steven Sidley Sir: With regard to the article by Rian Malan, here is the list of my friends/ colleagues/acquaintances who have been killed, hijacked, robbed, mugged, housebroken or smashed over the head with a gun in the last three months:

Ben and family, including 13-year-old son, attacked and robbed at home at 8 a. m. , Ben needing 17 stitches from gun-whipping;

Duncan and family (with four children under eight), awoken by robbers in the house at 4 a. …

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