I did not say much about the release of the crime statistics last week Monday. They were as expected as bad as they can be and in no way accurate. Many don’t even bother reporting crime to the Police Service and you never read anything good about the police. It is sad, they are seen as pathetic, corrupt and in general useless. Most of these views, I am sad to say, is entirely their own fault too.
I have a few observations though, based on almost thirty years of law enforcement and legal professional experience. We have a murder twice every hour in South Africa, yes, by the time I wrote and finished this blog somewhere someone would have been murdered. It is tragic statistics, almost 18 000 murders a year? That is 2000 more than the entire US and yet they have ten times our population. What does this mean? Simply, proportionally, the US will have 160 000 murders a year if you calculate it like that. No US government will survive such statistics, none. And yet it is seen here as normal. Business as usual and all Apartheid’s fault I suppose. Many will now wave their arms dramatically and point at race groups, yep, I have warned before. We get up and shout and talk serious nonsense just to find out it was the child shooting his parents and raping his sister. Do not judge before you have all the facts. It is the only way to prevent making a fool of yourself.
The chief problem with our murder rate is social circumstances, in other words, bad government over decades. I wonder, how far can you blame the police for these murders? I mean how do the police prevent a murder if they don’t know about it? As far as I can see most murders are committed by family members (I get that completely) as well as husband on wife, wife on husband and here and there a child on parents (greed are always involved). Then a small minority of murders are done by strangers, hijackings, farm attacks etc. Now I need to know and want to know, what is the current solving rate on the murders and other crimes? In my time in the police I believe a detective had a 90% success rate or he came back to the Uniform Branch where I was, a great insult to him and one they hated. My point is this, if the police cannot stop the murders (debatable, better patrols, better communication, better training etc.) then what happens to the murderers. And solving to me means a guilty verdict and this is the other problem. I have seen many a criminal walk because of incompetent prosecutors. Most are there stumbling from day to day, mumbling and not overly bright. Sadly, most prosecutors have not passed their bar exams, they only have a law degree and I can tell you, that is not good enough. The difference between a man who passed his bar exam and the one who has only a law degree is tremendous. The two cannot be in any way compared and so the prosecutors are up against better trained defence lawyers and you know, that is also good. We don’t want innocent men and women in jail and the scales should tip more to the accused.
On another subject, I note we have a DA member of parliament in trouble for supporting PW Botha. Well, I heard the same member once said people will vote for her because she got nice blue eyes (I would not know, I don’t stare at strange women). I am not sure if true but she may have a point, we don’t find our brightest and best in parliament, far from it and it seems anyone can get elected. What we have is professional party players and professional politicians, a despicable specie and rightly one which is being kicked out, I hope, in the US at least. It seems the voter there has finally decided they had enough of professional liars. You do know that most politicians are either former lawyers (or claiming they studied law, my word) or reverends? Why is that? Obviously because sprouting nonsense come naturally to such beasts and they are in general thick skinned, they love themselves far above their country.
We also have the worst drought in this country for the last 25 years. This weekend I drove to a small town and I noted once again, the chaos on our roads with four vehicles, within a short journey of 300 km, overtaking against the white line, in a blind spot and guess what, yes, not taxis as you expected. Nope, newish Audis, newish VW Double Cabs and obviously the Toyota Double Cab brigade with a short man’s syndrome. What does this tell me? If you cannot obey a simple road rule designed to save your life, your family and others, you cannot obey any other laws either. You probably cheat on tax, your wife and do your workers in. Yes, that is why we don’t have rain. People like you. Think about it next time.
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.