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A walk on the wicked side


Nothing could have prepared this enlightened soul for our democratic, plutocratic, kleptocratic country.

Picture: Willem Law/Archives.

You can keep telling yourself that crime does not pay until you are blue in the face but that doesn’t make it any less of a fallacy.

There are surely many out there who would disagree with me on this one and those who will feel an urge to poke holes in my argument.

Others may simply refuse to waste their breath humouring such a preposterous statement, from such an obnoxious, confused, confrontational and contrary source.

Then there will be some who won’t say a word, reminding themselves that if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all – another one of many a mom’s favourite mantras so famous that it is usually mistaken as factual.

Wrongdoing is usually regrettable but I wonder what kind of a fairytale existence produced the poor, naive simpleton that first gazed upon the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’, the evil and the ethical, the awful and the awesome, the holy, the hollow, the hellbent and the hypocrites, to reach such a profound conclusion.

Granted, this character must have been inspired but obviously died a long, long time ago and far, far away from here.

Such wisdom can only come from a person too delusional, dim, destitute, divine, and/or all of the above, to have been bred in South Africa’s current circumstances.

Nothing could have prepared this enlightened soul for our democratic, plutocratic, kleptocratic country.

Our reality was never a factored into this idiom. In fact, if recent, regular, tragically repetitive developments have taught us anything it is that crime pays extremely well.

A walk on the wicked, wild side can open doors and close gates with matching ease. It can take you anywhere.

Criminal pursuits can make you the president or a prisoner. The choice is yours. Best of all, it’s never too late to change your mind, your career or your crooked course.

We, the public, the people, the constituencies, the voters, confuse our best and brightest with our bad and broken.

We dress them up in designer suits when orange overalls are appropriate.

We labour for their lives in the lap of luxury, spending a fortune on silk ties for those who are more suited for hemp nooses.

There may as well be a revolving door between Pollsmoor and Parliament except it is only likely to ever experience one-way traffic in the wrong direction, with devastating consequences.

Crime pays, in cash, our cash, voluntarily handed over to finance services that are never delivered. Infrastructure that is never developed and a brighter future that never arrives.

We may not like it but it’s not as if we are doing enough about it.

We complain but don’t convict. We are silent when we should be screaming. We tolerate when we should be tormenting. We allow when we should be abolishing. We ignore when we should be igniting.

We are the solution to a self-inflicted problem but we first need to distinguish the revolutionary from the revolting, the terrific from the terrorist, the concerned from the conman, the murderer from the martyr.

We lie to ourselves and others and try our best to believe that crime doesn’t pay but it does.

We are the ones paying for it and it’s costing us far too much.