living in South Africa: crime and police
April 7, 2008
I had a couple of experiences over the last few days which got me thinking about what it mean to live in South Africa. So I think I’ll be blogging about this over the next few days. I live in Kameeldrif, it’s on the North-Eastern side of Pretoria, at the moment consisting mostly of plots ranging between 1 and 200 hectar over an area of about 15km East of the N1 North highway, and 30km North of Zambezi road (the Pretoria Cullinan road).
Kameeldrif made it into the news a few times over the past weeks, but not in the way we would have liked to make it into the news. It would seem like organized burglaries moves around the city in… well, in an organized way. This mean that for a few months a certain area will have a lot of problems, and then, I guess when they have fortifies their security enough, whoever is doing this moves on to another area. I guess I could be wrong in my analysis, but this is how I see it, and I’ve heard others make the same observation. It seem to be Kameeldrif’s turn.
It started a few weeks ago, with armed robberies at some plots, and in the last two weeks it has gotten really bad, with an armed robbery about every two days, a couple of people being shot, some killed, a woman raped in front of her child (and this happening inside a security complex near Roodeplaat dam) and many people traumatized. I had to talk to some of the kids after one of these incidents two weeks ago.
On Friday at about 00:30 myself and Handré was coming back from a 21st. When we got of the N1 at Zambezi, we saw a guy walking beside the street, I remember Handré asking why I think this guy was walking there. We saw a car standing beside the road on the Western direction of Zembezi. Next moment we heard a woman screaming, and then a taser going of again and again. We turned around, and saw people fighting in the road, as Handré drove up to them, I opened the door, not quite knowing what we’ll do, but the someone ran away when we approached, seeing that we intend to stop, and we picked up the woman.
Turns out it was her husband we saw walking, for some reason he was mad at her, and then stopped the car, and left her beside the road, and before he was 150m away someone tried to steal her handbag. Just after we again stopped at her car (we first drove away), someone elkse stopped, he was from the police, but was off duty. He looked for the thief, but he was gone. Then there was a whole mess-up with the drunk husband, and at some point the tow-in guy stopped. When he heard what happened he called the police. Within two minutes the police was on the scene.
This is what I think I want to say today. A lot of negative stories was spread about the police in the past, stopries of how they never arrive at a scene etc. I’ve experiences this myself a few years ago after a house I was watching over the holidays got robbed. But on Friday night, and from what I hear from the people in our community over the past weeks, the police is really fast in responding and helping. So, for all of you in the SAPS, thumb-up, and thanx for the things you are doing for us!
Well, I guess crime is part of the reality of living in South Africa. But my experience of the police is getting really positive. And do we help? Maybe it was stupid to actually turn around and stop at a crime scene on Friday, but how could we not stop when hearing a woman scream, knowing that something must be wrong? And so many others actually also stopped on Friday night. I hope communities are starting to look after each other again, or maybe it’s just the community in Kameeldrif.
Well, I’ll continue with some more thoughts and stories tomorrow