South Africa’s government cares more about bad laws than the rising crime epidemic​
Nicholas Woode-Smith, an author, economic historian, and political analyst, is a contributing author for the Free Market Foundation. 

When last did the South African government under the ANC show any real concern for the brutal and unacceptable violent crime, gangsterism and lawlessness that infests this country? The ANC shows more concern for insincere accusations levelled against Israel, enforcing patronising racial quotas in businesses through BEE, and destroying our healthcare system through the proposed NHI.

In any sane democracy this government would have been unelected and ridiculed at the ballot box. The prime mandate of a government is to defend the citizenry of a country. From foreign threats, but also from lawlessness, criminals, and violence. This is enshrined in  Section 12(1c) of the Constitution: “Everyone has the right to freedom and security of the person, which includes the right to be free from all forms of violence from either public or private sources”.

Only the Pax Americana (which the ANC deplores) and our privileged geographical position out of range of aggressive powers truly defends us from foreign threats. If we were to be invaded, the SANDF (South African National Defence Force) would not be able to lift a finger to defend us. The fact that Islamic State associated groups are active in Mozambique, and that violence could spill-over our borders, should be a wake-up call for the government to sort out the SANDF. But they don’t care.

They care even less about the scourge of gangsterism, the ravages on our infrastructure by thieves, and the cataclysmic murder rate. Rather, the ANC would like to focus on its National Democratic Revolution (NDR), blaming the ‘West’, ‘colonialism’, and ‘white people’ for all ills.

In 2022/23, 1.1 million households experienced either violent housebreaking, or burglary. That’s 5.7% of all households. On top of this, there were 16 000 murders, 11 000 sexual offences and 68 000 assaults. These are low estimates, as many South Africans have given up on reporting crimes to SAPS (South African Police Service). Stories of the police dismissing cases due to sheer laziness are rife.

A friend of mine was robbed in his house. He phoned the police within seconds of the criminals leaving. The police station was just up the road. They told him that there was nothing they could do. His description of the perpetrators, and the fact that his property and freedom had just been infringed meant nothing to them. They refused to let him make a report.

This is a story all too common in this country.

This was in Cape Town, where law and order are meant to be greater than in the rest of the country. But even opposition rule can’t free us from the ineptitude of SAPS. An incompetence so grave that it might as well be oppression. And all the fault of a national government unwilling to redirect its attention towards embracing true solutions to law enforcement.

Politicians pay lip service to fighting crime but put in no real effort to do so. Otherwise, they’d be empowering local police forces and private security, overhauling police training, purging the service of corrupt policemen, embracing a more rational, intelligence-based approach to policing, or simply just ensuring that police do the bare minimum of their job.

But instead, the government has spent its political capital pushing through NHI, which will destroy our healthcare sector, while continuing the pipedream of unaffordable Basic Income Grants, and constantly crushing businesses with BEE enforcement.

If the ANC government truly cared about solving crime in this country, it would stop putting all its focus on bad laws and policies and redirect all its attention to equipping SAPS with the institutions and resources necessary to solve and prevent crimes. Until that happens, it’s clear that this government only cares about its corrupt ideology. Nothing more.