It is entirely odd, that we live in fear in a country supposed to be the liberal dream after Apartheid ended in 1994 according to the history books but not in the brains of many. Sadly, I am not talking about crime here although I should and could. With eighteen thousand murders a year, yes, one every 30 minutes, most people would be guarded if not in actual fear. We make excuses, of course, we say “this is Africa” and “the police cannot be everywhere” or “put your faith in God.” This is all fair and well and nice but highly abnormal in other countries not cursed with violent crime.
Actually, being in Africa, on itself, is no reason to live with fear and note, living with fear is not the same as living in fear. So that is no excuse, you should not fear crime and if you do, the Government had failed you. And yes, you should expect to have a good police service, it is not normal to have a bad one. It is not normal to have them looked down on and always read how pathetic they are. It is sad and should make you cringe to read such things. Now God, in my experience, helps only those who helps themselves. There is not going to be a pot of gold waiting for you at your doorstep no matter how hard you pray. Which is not to say God cannot intervene, or miracles do not take place anymore. I simply mean, if you want something done, do it yourself. The law is neutral as I said before in my books and in this blog. Unless you invoke the law, you cannot expect it to act pro-actively, help yourself to get rid of the fear in you.
The fear I am speaking about is not crime, it is of being called a “racist” if you dare to criticize anything in this country. The Constitution, with its Bill of Human Rights, is supposed to give you something called “Freedom of Speech” which means you should be able to speak your mind (criticize) without living with fear of being officially investigated, publically humiliated and hounded to leave the place and get into hiding. A perfect example is Donald Trump stating he will ban all Muslims from entering the USA. And less you forget, the US did ban all Japanese at some stage, before the Second World War, so there is a historical precedence for what he said besides the other reasons. There were howls of angry protest, but no one said to Mr Trump he is now prevented from speaking his mind, he has “Freedom of Speech.” In South Africa, I guarantee you, those very same words would have been seen as “hate speech” and there are consequences in law, for such things. He would have been stopped in his tracks.
It is an old legal debate, how far is your right to free speech allowed to go before it becomes hate speech which is unlawful. No one really knows, to be honest, but where you become openly racist, calling for white South Africans to be gassed, or Jews to be exterminated, or black South Africans monkeys, that is going too far. Note the above are statements, not criticizing, big difference when you think about it. I said time and time again, be very careful what you post on social media, even that what is posted on your website or Facebook page by others, may come back to bite you in the ass. Once you have a reputation as a racist, it will never go away from you and this brings fear because I have found that many, the moment you criticize, fall back on the racist argument. “You are racist, you are jealous, you are not in Apartheid anymore, you are not the white boss, a black man earns money also, you don’t like me because I am black” and so many respond, angrily, creating fear and hiding behind it.
It is crap, obviously, such arguments, that is not what the law had in mind when it was written to protect you. There is nothing wrong with robustness between men as long as it is not indecent or hate speech. You should not be too over sensitive and jump on the racism bandwagon all the time. I think most of us are past the stage where we notice if a guy is black or pink on the sports fields, but none of us are willing to lose games because he is there on anything but merit. Such an argument, will immediately, in this country, be seen as racist even when it is not meant to be because it is criticism. This sensitivity goes further. You seldom to never see or hear the police admitting the race of the culprit and so everyone takes it for granted, it is black on white crime. And yet, many times it is not, many times we find the family member, doing the slaying. We should never jump to conclusions, it is a cardinal fact of law, to hear the other side first before making a judgment. But what do you do when the police stay silent and refuses, because of fear and politically correct nonsense, to admit who they are looking for? It is entirely silly, no normal person will ever have a problem with a factually correct description of the culprits to assist in spotting them. And it is fear, of being called a racist, that most would rather turn a blind eye to open corruption and other injustices afore reporting it. It is entirely sad that we are failed by our leaders, that South Africa is not even the biggest economy in Africa anymore because we had in practical terms, zero growth the last few years. This is justifiable critique, not racism, who cares what skin colour the leaders are, as long as they perform as promised. How long can we accept fear as part of our existence? Bob Dylan said:
“Yes, how many times can a man turn his head
Pretending he just doesn't see?
The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.”
I have a newsflash for some, most actually want to be proud of their country, their citizens, sport teams and leaders. Not everything is about race, wake up and move on, stop feeling sorry for yourself.
Koos Kotze is a former member of the South African Police Force. He served between 1985 and 1991 primarily as a sergeant in the Pretoria Flying Squad. During his police years, he was awarded the South African Police Medal for Combating Terrorism twice besides lesser awards. After leaving the Police Force he obtained the law degrees B Iuris & LLB at the University of the Free State (Bloemfontein, South Africa) and was a commercial law attorney for eight years. These days he is the owner of JKLS Africa and Associates, a specialist legal consultancy which specializes in reducing legal risk in sub Saharan Africa. He wrote several books on business, law, counter-terrorism and security issues. At times he is asked to participate on the Voice of America regarding legal forensic matters.