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Halt descent to law of the jungle


The stats show that 57 murders a day are committed in South Africa

File photo: African News Agency (ANA)

THE GLOBAL Peace Index, produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace, is produced annually and keeps track of the most dangerous countries in the world.

It ranks 163 independent countries, based on how peaceful they are (or, conversely, how dangerous). These countries cover more than 99.7% of the world’s population and are assessed using 23 indicators, each banded on a scale of 1 to 5.

In the latest report, Syria remains the most dangerous country for the third consecutive year and has consistently ranked among the five most dangerous countries in the world since the start of its civil war in 2013. Unsurprisingly, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Iraq and Somalia are also ranked as some of the most dangerous countries in the world. South Africa comes in at number 39.

If this flatters us, then yesterday’s crime statistics released by the SAPS, with Statistics SA, covering crimes between April last year and March this year, should bring us down to earth with a thump. The stats paint a grim picture. They show why South Africa is in the league of countries such as Belize, Honduras and Venezuela in the murder stakes.

The worst countries listed by the Global Peace Index are technically at war, while we are not. Any country not at war that has seen more than 20000 of its people murdered in 12 months should get a wake-up call.

The stats show that 57 murders a day are committed in South Africa. This works out to 35.7 people murdered per 100000 population. There were also 40035 reported rape cases in the same period.

This is unacceptable. Apart from the fact that such crime levels dent our country’s image – and affect things such as tourism and investment – South Africans deserve to live in peace and safety.

No wonder most South Africans are clamouring for the return of the death penalty. Criminals know they can get away with their vile misdeeds. If they knew they stood a good chance of being arrested, convicted and locked away for a long time, they would think twice before committing a crime.

To this end, we must jack up our policing – and our justice system. Our cops are undertrained, overworked and underpaid. It is the government’s duty to protect its citizens.

Anything less is a descent towards anarchy and the law of the jungle.