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Last Updated: Friday, 19 October 2007, 13:25 GMT 14:25 UK
SA crime fears after reggae death
By Martin Plaut
BBC Africa analyst

Lucky Dube
Lucky Dube sang about social problems

The shooting of South African reggae star Lucky Dube, one of the continent's biggest-selling artists, has shocked South Africans.

He was shot dead in front of his children during an attempted car hijacking in Johannesburg.

President Thabo Mbeki was among those who paid tribute to Mr Dube, calling him "a really great South African artist".

But his killing has reignited debate about the levels of crime in the country.

The latest crime statistics are truly horrifying. Last year a staggering 19,000 South Africans were murdered.

By comparison, Britain, which has a larger population, had about 700 murders in the same period.

And taking the most serious crimes as a whole, the situation is even grimmer.

Just over half a million South Africans are murdered, raped or assaulted every year.

World Cup

The impact on everyday life is severe.

Rastas may never die, but our country will if the ANC does not wake up
Marc Burman, Johannesburg, South Africa

The rich now live in gated communities, with high walls topped by razor wire and patrolled by armed security services.

The poor must make do with what they have, sometimes using vigilante groups to try to counter the criminals.

And crime is taking its toll on business confidence.

The accountants Grant Thornton reported that 84% of the businesses they surveyed said that they or their staff had been affected by robbery, hijacking, violent crime, road rage or similar crimes in the past year.

The African National Congress (ANC) government estimates that 22 million potential tourists were scared away from coming to South Africa.

And this is undermining confidence in the country's ability to hold a successful football World Cup in 2010.

The tragedy of Lucky Dube is a reflection of the violence that stalks the streets of every South African city.

Clip of Lucky Dube singing 'Prisoner'

Lucky Dube: Your reaction
19 Oct 07 |  Have Your Say
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