The police were out of touch with reality for expressing shock at the murder of a tourist in Gugulethu, Cape Town, the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIIR) said on Tuesday.
This comes off the back of the murder of British tourist Anni Dewani in Gugulethu at the weekend.
“Data in the possession of the South African Institute of Race Relations shows that over 700 people have been murdered in Gugulethu since 2005. In the year to March 2010 some 110 murders occurred within the Gugulethu police precinct,” the SAIRR said in a statement.
“This amounts to one murder every two-and-a-half days for five consecutive years. How under such circumstances can the police claim to be ‘shocked’ or surprised at what happened to the British couple?”
The SAIRR said if the police were truly shocked, then it suggested that “the police’s senior management is out of touch with the reality of life on the ground for people in areas such as Gugulethu who have been left to run the gauntlet of violent crime on a horrific scale”.
The institute said it was “revealing” that it took the murder of a foreign national for the police’s senior management to take stock of the state of affairs in Gugulethu.
Communities have been let down
Poor communities did not have the resources to get private security companies to protect them, said the SAIRR.
“Many of these communities rightly deserve to feel deeply let down by the performance of their government and insulted when it feigns shock and surprise at violence that has become commonplace across South Africa’s poorer urban peripheries.”
Western Cape police said on Tuesday that people had been taken in for questioning in connection with the killing of Dewani.
The newly-wed 28-year-old was murdered on her honeymoon during a suspected hijacking in the Cape Town township of Gugulethu.
Her husband, Shrien, was not harmed.
National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele said in reaction on Monday: “We are saddened to learn about this horrendous and shocking incident.” — Sapa