Cape Town Crime

Crime in South Africa

Broken window

Window broken by burglar

I will start off this article by quoting some of the headlines in the newspapers over the past few days . They make awful reading.

UK visitor won't be back after attack.

Another child dies in gang attacks.

Scorpions seize most of R400 000 bribe given to NNP

Corruption in Civil Service is definitely serious.

These are just a few headlines that I picked up in the newspapers and as you can see they cover a wide spectrum of crime. With the change over from the Nationalist government in 1994 many changes took place here in SA. The main one in respect of crime was the doing away of capital punishment. As there is no threat of death criminals are prepared to take a chance and murder and maim.


In areas such as Lavender Hill on the Cape Flats and Elsies River which is near Goodwood/Bellville the gangsters have taken over. Each gang has its own turf and beware if any rival gang member crosses it. Unfortunately these turfs are in the middle of residential areas and people are often caught in the crossfire when the gangs go to war. This week a six year old boy was shot in his back when gangsters had a shootout.

Of course if a gang member gets killed there has to be a revenge killing so it just does not stop. <

The mini bus taxis are another source of violence. When two opposing taxi groups disagree over a taxi route it can end in a gun fight. This week six people died at a taxi rank in Bellville when this happened. It is of course always the innocent who lose their lives in the crossfire.

Hijackings are commonplace and certain areas are high risk. You stop at a traffic light and suddenly your car window is smashed and you find a gun in your face. If you are lucky you are pulled out of the car and thrown into the road. Many times victims are shot and killed as the attackers grab the car and make off.

Businessmen are often hijacked when going or returning from the bank. They are followed home or back to their business premises and are accosted and told to hand over the money as they stop their vehicles. There is almost always a gun involved in these instances and mostly the victim is lucky to survive. Not only is the money stolen but the car as well.

This happened to a friend of mine a couple of weeks ago and he had his automatic BMW stolen. The thief drove the automatic as if it was a manual transmission and it took him exactly three minutes to blow the engine.

My friend was badly traumatised after having had a gun held to his head.

On our farms there is also mayhem as attackers murder the farmers. There is very little protection as the farm houses are far away from police protection. Unfortunately crime does not end on the streets.

It is in our government and political parties as well. A cabinet minister was forced to resign this week due to taking bribes in the Arms Deal that was negotiated a few years ago. Two others lost their jobs over scandals to do with property transactions.

The list is endless.

What does one do to protect oneself . The main thing is to be vigilant all of the times. When pulling up at traffic lights leave yourself some room to pull away even if you must drive onto a pavement to do so. Keep your car doors locked and do not leave valuables lying on the seat next to you.

Hijackers are normally reasonably smartly dressed and hang about on pavements in pairs. If you are vigilant you will see them when you arrive and with a bit of luck be able to avoid them.

All houses in SA have burglar bars installed and many have alarm systems. Neighbourhood protection and guarding services have mushroomed as people try and protect themselves.

The CBD areas have had cameras installed in the streets and these areas are well patrolled by the police. All this does is to force the criminal into other areas where police are not so prevalent. One good thing though is that SA has now got themselves a specialist investigation unit called the Scorpions. These people have been trained by the FBI and Scotland Yard to do investigations. They are slowly coming to grips with crime and many high profile people are finding themselves being investigated for crimes that they were sure would not be discovered.

The next question I will be asked by people is Is it safe to come to South Africa? Yes it is. We are in the death throes of the Cricket World Cup now. Nobody who came here and visited our grounds was attacked or injured in any way.

How to stay safe while you are here.

The trick is to look like a local and stay away from lonely streets etc. Do NOT carry large camera bags and wear lots of jewellery especially if you are alone. Move about in groups especially at night.

Good news is that the Minister of Finance has announced that the SA Police Services will be receiving an additional allocation of R867 million this year to allow them to finalise the modernisation of their fleet and to build more police stations. The Police force will number 155260 by the end of 2006 which is an increase of 30% on the numbers of police that were in the force in 2001.

This will hopefully go a long way to curbing crime in South Africa.

2015 Turtle SA - All Rights Reserved
Crime in South AFrica
Page updated 12.5.2015

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