A matter of crime

Every time a crime-trends statistics report is released, there follows a round of indignant finger-pointing. Opposition politicians call for the head of the minister of the day, who usually rounds and asks them what they’re doing to fight crime.

This time was no different.

However, Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula — he of the now infamous invitation to “whingers” to leave the country — did say he was considering shortening the reporting cycle of crime statistics. This is to be applauded as it will mean a quicker response to crime trends and give ordinary citizens an idea of how best to protect themselves.

“Those who say I must resign should look to what they themselves are contributing to the fight against crime. I am going to continue … to find answers to the problems we have,” Nqakula said.

“The people who say I must resign — they must check how they are accountable to the high levels of crime in this country and what they are going to do.”

He also said he did not understand why crime was being linked to the 2010 Soccer World Cup. “If there is a major threat against this tournament, tell us, we want to deal with it. Is there going to be a bomb that is going to go off at the stadium?”

Speaking at the release of the crime statistics, Nqakula said that South Africa had successfully hosted the Rugby World Cup in 1994, when crime levels were much higher.

Police National Commissioner Jackie Selebi also chimed in, saying he was not lying awake every night “with 2010 on my forehead”.

It is not so much a “major threat” the men should be worried about as daily reports of horrific crimes being visited on our guests. They will do well to remember that the country has never played host to such a large tournament, and with the world’s media in attendance, all it will take is a few incidents to sour the mood.

Maybe we do need another leader in the fight against crime. Someone beyond reproach, who at least gives the vague impression that they care. Someone with an interest in examining the root causes of crime. Someone with a plan.


FULL SPEED AHEAD NOT SO FAST
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The South African wheelchair marathon champion and Paralympics 2008 team member hopes to join Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong as a winner of an ESPY Award — the Grammys of the sport world — following his nomination for best male athlete with a disability. We’ll be holding thumbs.
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This influential rugby administrator has called for South Africa to be expelled from Sanzar. He complains that the players are being “killed” by the air travel and South Africa have left their best players at home for the Test at Telstra Stadium. Australian Rugby Union chief John O’Neill, however, called the comments “premature and unnecessarily pre-emptive”. Which is putting it kindly.

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