Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Whinging about crime


An interesting bit of clarification from Safety & Security minister Charles Nqakula today on his comments earlier in June which caused some degree of outrage when he suggested people should either complain until blue in the face or leave the country.

He told editors and journalists at a police media day in Johannesburg his words were directed at three negative opposition MPs taking part in the debate during his budget vote. "This (whinging remark) was meant for them... this was politicking. I was politicking - they were politicking. I would never say people who complain about crime should leave the country."

If I am to give him credit, and accept his explanation being as above then the outrage was clearly policking in itself and a classic case of the DA making political capital out of this issue.

It is also a classic case of comments being taken out of context of the debate that they came up in. Yes, perhaps ill chosen words in a bout of frustration. But I think judging by his clarification (unless he is backtracking on previous comments in some way which I am not convinced of) it is a situation where the words he used did not entirely come out the way that he intended or while aimed at a specific target were extrapolated to apply to the whole population.

Am I being too kind?

That said:  I'm not leaving, but I surely will complain next time (touch wood never) I get jumped on while trying to visit an art gallery.

But the question is then: If the argument is that we should do something about crime rather than complain about it, just what should the man in the street be doing about crime?

Dealing with crime is the kind of thing that we outsource to the state precisely because dealing with it is a rather large task for individuals, and too nationally destabilising if we encourage vigilantism or privatisation.

1 comment:

VallyP said...

Fair, balanced and wise and a good finishing question. The problem is, how does a government deal with this level of criminality without being repressive...I wish I knew.

I didn't leave SA because of these or any other issues. My reasons were to do with relationships and family, but having experienced the freedom from fear, and my Dutch partner's reaction to the limitations, it could well mske me think twice about coming back!