South African Crime Out of Control: Nobody is Safe By Logan Ricardo (Johannesburg)

     The twilight of civilisation gets frightening when we have events like an expert in the nature of hate crimes being brutally murdered. Why was she singled out? In South Africa, an advanced model for the West, who is going to be safe?

“A brilliant psychologist and specialist in hate crime and violence in South Africa was brutally butchered and had her throat slit in her own home by a gang of armed robbers. Leading scholar Dr Mirah Wilks was ambushed and attacked by the men who had waited until her husband Frank left to worship at the local synagogue, leaving her home alone. The group had climbed up onto the roof and removed tiles and dropped down inside the house and stabbed Mirah at least twelve times in the chest and back then cut her throat. Retired husband Frank, 72, returned home from evening worship on Sunday night and found the blood soaked body of his wife of 45 years lying dead on the floor of the family home. Dr Wilks, 69, was renowned for her research into hate crimes, trauma and violence and was a highly respected former Chair of the Psychological Society of South Africa. South African Police have launched a major man-hunt for the gang who struck at the home in Johannesburg and killed her just to steal two laptops and a mobile phone. Former art teacher turned counsellor, Dr Wilks qualified last year with a PhD in Hate Crimes from the University of South Africa after spending many years in South Africa as a top psychologist.”

     Yet another tragedy in a country where there are 21,00 people killed a year, and an image of the future to come, everywhere, where people will be killed for trinkets:

“Sexual offences and murder rates have risen significantly in South Africa over the past year, according to new official crime figures. Murders recorded by the police have been rising every year for the last decade, and sexual offences including rape have risen 4.6% this year. The release of the figures comes amid growing concern about violence against women after a number of high-profile rape cases and murders in recent weeks. Thousands of people took to the streets earlier this month to protest against the attacks. Which crimes are getting worse? Among sexual offences, sexual assault increased by 9.6% and rape by 3.9%. For crimes detected by the police as a result of their own activities (rather than reported by the public) there was a 19% increase in recorded sexual offences. There were also increases in arson (5.5%), attempted murder (4.1%) and common assault (3.7%). And there was an increase of more than 14% in commercial crime, the majority of which related to fraud. However, recorded robberies and thefts from property or vehicles have shown decreases over the past year. What are the longer-term trends? Murder rates in South Africa have been steadily rising since 2011-12 according to official figures. In that year, there were 15,554 recorded murders. By 2018-19, this figure had increased to 21,022. That averages out to about 58 murders a day. Last year, there were a total of 52,420 recorded sexual offences. This is lower than for the period 2009-15, but over the past three years the rate has been increasing. In a statement on the release of the latest figures, the Minister of Police Bheki Cele, said reversing the rising murder trend of the last six years was a "mammoth task, but is doable".”

     I wish the authorities well in facing this tsunami of crime, but it is more likely that South Africa, along with much of the West is already sinking. Certainly, most crime in my neck of the woods, Johannesburg, does not get solved, the police being vastly under-resourced. I will follow the story of the poor lady above who got her throat cut, but I am not optimistic that the police will bring the ghouls who did this to justice. It will be just another sad statistic of South Africa.



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Thursday, 18 July 2024

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