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Tuesday, 16 April, 2002, 08:30 GMT 09:30 UK
Have you experienced crime in South Africa?
South Africa is the most dangerous country in the world, which is not at war.

Fifteen thousand people were murdered between January and September last year.

Cracking the problem of crime remains the single biggest challenge facing South Africa's Government.

This year R31.8 billion ($3.5 billion) was budgeted to pay for the fight against crime, 11% of total government spending.

Have you experienced crime in South Africa? What can the government, and society at large, do? And following the acquittal of Dr Wouter Basson, the man who headed South Africa's apartheid-era germ warfare programme, how much faith do you have in South Africa's courts?

This Talking Point has now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

I lived in South Africa for 21 years and became a South African citizen, I also have 2 South African children. Having lost 4 of my good friends in the period of one year in 2000 all being murdered in cold blood, I decided as beautiful as the country is I could not live there any more. South Africa is a fantastic country getting destroyed by its own people, while the government watches not knowing how to fix the problem and with no-one to turn to for help. The rest of the world set the ANC free, now it watches from afar as South Africa self destructs.
Mark, England

The crime in South Africa seems to be an ever increasing problem for both residents and visitors to the nation. Recently I was robbed at gunpoint, my car stolen along with all my possessions and even my shoes. I have a number of Zambian friends who are at university there, one of whom was recently stabbed and attacked for money on the university premises. I think that South Africa faces a challenging time ahead.
Ryan van der Merwe, Zambia

My wife, who was born in Durban, vows that she will never settle back in SA

Concerned, Scotland
I am a Scot who lived and worked in SA during the eighties. I still have a son, daughter and two grandchildren in Jo┐burg. My brother-in-law was shot at a few years ago and his wife was shot in the hand during a post office robbery four years ago. The father of a boy whose twenty first birthday celebration I attended, was shot dead last year and the ex-husband of a friend brutally murdered in Maritzburg four years ago. My daughter witnessed an armed robbery in the complex where she lived. My wife, who was born in Durban, vows that she will never settle back in SA as she worries for the safety of our youngest daughter. The instances of crimes against relatives and friends are almost endless. Also on the mine where I worked, there were several "muti" killings and tribal tensions were always very close to the surface of mine politics. Surely no-one person can be so unlucky. What also worries me is the near desperate attempts to award the football world cup to SA in 2010. Believe me, it will be open season on unsuspecting fans from all over the world. The whole prospect of awarding the tournament to SA makes my flesh creep.
Concerned, Scotland

I was carjacked two years ago in Johannesburg while waiting on red light. I managed to escape... the attacker smashed my left widow with the brick and tried to get me out of the car. The police told me afterwards that should he have had a gun I would be dead.
Jurek, UK/Poland

I have just spent 2 months there. Seems to me a distinction can be made between Joburg & the rest. In Joburg even the taxi drivers wouldn't take me near the city centre. The well off whites stay in heavily armed fortresses of shopping mall suburbia, whilst the blacks occupy the inner city and townships. This is no way to live. SA is bound to have a difficult time ahead to reverse the impact of decades of apartheid. I hope it can achieve this peacefully. I would add that I had a safe trip, and would go back - avoiding Joburg of course.
Gail, UK

I have spent two wonderful holidays in South Africa in recent years without having any trouble (but of course taking care and being sensible about where I go, how I dress and what I do). Ironically I arrived back from the last trip and within 4 days my flat in Brussels had been burgled. I bet if you asked the same question about London, you'd get a similar level of 'yes' responses as you do about South Africa, and a lot of those would relate to violence/violent crime.
Antonia, Belgium

There is an ever increasing wave of violent crime sweeping the world

Julian Gerretsen, South Africa
Sure, South Africa has its hot spots of crime, especially Johannesburg. However, there is an ever increasing wave of violent crime sweeping the world. "Why?" one asks. Part of the problem could be the excessive permissiveness and lack of consequences associated with violent crime. In a world where murderers and rapists often receive sentencing and parole allowances in line with shoplifting offences, one cannot help but wonder whether the global justice system has lost its collective sanity.
Julian Gerretsen, South Africa

It's sad to hear how fellow South African's slander this beautiful country of ours. Sure crime is a problem but I don't see you here trying to assist the poor, uneducated and therefore unemployed citizens of South Africa. Sure, if you're overseas to make a bit of money then well done, but don't YOU forget what you are or where you come from!
Andre S, South Africa

Here's a little something from Beeld newspaper in South Africa: Johannesburg - The streets of Soweto are safer than those of Hackney and people in the East London district are more likely to be treated in hospital after being shot or stabbed than in Soweto, which is considered South Africa's most dangerous township, new statistics have revealed. The profiles of cases of shootings and stabbing at Baragwanath and the Homerton are strikingly similar: most victims are young men caught up in crime and gang wars injured by low-velocity shotguns and razor-sharp bowie knives. Victims of reprisal attacks are often brought in soon after.
Mzekezeke, JHB, South Africa

Born and raised in SA, you learn to adapt, while you're living there, you don't say, oh no, it's so dangerous and hide away for the rest of your life, you live with it, use common sense and get tough, every country has it's troubles. I don't believe crime should be considered "normal", but unfortunately it doesn't just disappear quickly. But on a pleasant note, I still regard it as being one of the most beautiful countries in the world, crime, or no crime.
Tracy, New Zealand

I left SA in 1996 for greener pastures when I felt it evident that crime and disrespect for human life was a daily occurrence. The strain of daily media and personal reports on crime was enough to make one feel polarised to the point were you distrusted even normal decent people. When a long-time pacifist friend of mine started carrying a weapon for his families' protection and felt it would be negligent if I did not do the same, it was time to go.

South Africa is a great country with lots of untapped potential, but also a country full of venom from its historical and social roots. It's uneasy with itself, as it has not had a state of normality in the last 100 years. It is a clash of cultures in an attempt to forge a common identity that is not based on jokes or the work ethic.
John, Australia

I live in Washington State (the west coast for those of you who don't know). Here any person without a felony criminal record can get a permit to carry a concealed handgun, and 5% of the population has them (excluding police, who do not need these permits) The rate of violent crime here is vastly lower than in Europe, where criminals know their victims are disarmed and helpless. Makes you think, doesn't it?
Robert Blakely, USA

Being half-South African myself, I have visited the country many times over the years, and each time I go, I find myself wanting to return as soon as possible! It is still an absolutely wonderful country - there is always so much to do and see, and Cape Town remains one of the most beautiful places on earth in my opinion.

However, only a fool would tell you that the situation in South Africa is perfect. The HIV/AIDS epidemic is spiralling out of control, and no matter how many government initiatives there are to combat the obscene amount of crime, people are still meeting it on their doorsteps. Despite all of this, it remains a spectacular country to visit, and if you stick to crowded, 'safe' areas in the daylight, and don't go walking around alone with conspicuous and expensive items on you, most people experience little difficulty. Depriving the country of tourism, one of its main sources of income, is just about the worst thing that you can do for South Africa. It will only make the problem of crime worse.
Jonathan, London, UK

I left SA in the mid 80's because there was no way I was going to do military service for the Nationalist Government. Since then, most of the people I knew back then in South Africa have left. My sister and her husband left after my sister, who was working in Johannesburg just got tired of having to take a gun to work. On the other hand, a good friend of mine still lives right in the middle of Johannesburg and neither been burgled nor mugged, but he's not rich so he doesn't make a good target. I really hope that things do improve in South Africa, the people deserve it.
Theo Stauffer, Switzerland, Ex-SA

Nonsense, people are people, you get both good and bad. I've lived in Cape Town my whole life and crime has never yet affected me personally. (thankfully). If you take the necessary precautions, it shouldn't be a problem. Don't ask me to live in Johannesburg though.
Keith, CT, South Africa

You might be surprised at what a wonderful diverse country South Africa is

Chris Savva, London
I have spent the last 2 years living in London and dare I say it I feel crime is no different here than in Durban, my hometown. I believe all the perceptions that South Africa is a country ravaged by crime are true to the extent that many are committed through desperation. The main reason many South Africans have is simply that jobs are so scare and the rand's exchange rate weakness. I encourage tourists to visit our shores and experience our culture; you might be surprised at what a wonderful diverse country South Africa is.
Chris Savva, Ex S. African living in London

I visited SA for the first time last month and had a wonderful time! I was based in Cape Town (so can't comment on the rest of the country) but I saw no serious problems and felt safer than in the UK. My partner works for a SA company and has visited many times but hasn't found crime any worse than in the UK. Like most places it probably depends where you are.
Ian, UK

I am yet another South African living in London. However, I didn't leave because of the crime, which is a good thing, because I would have been sorely disappointed if I had. I now live in South London and, in the past 6 months, I have seen 5 witness appeal boards posted in my street. This surely proves that crime is inevitable in any country that has inequalities.
Tracy Brown, UK, Previously SA

I am currently studying for an MSc here and have been mugged twice at knifepoint (in Durban). I obviously am not happy about the violent crime, but I can understand why it happens. The end of apartheid was meant to herald a new era of equality; sadly this is not the case.
Jonathan Harris, South Africa (Wales)

My friend's girlfriend is from Jo'burg. She says that after dusk, women are allowed to drive through red lights to avoid being hijacked or worse! Her family (who are white), are saving to leave for either England, Australia, or NZ, and who can blame them. SA is going into complete self-destruct and she's not going to hang around for it to happen. No amount of money could make me visit SA.
Andrew Boxall, England, UK

The crime figures are not exaggerated - for, Johannesburg residents in particular, they are a reality to be faced daily

Dee, South African in the UK
The crime figures are not exaggerated - for, Johannesburg residents in particular, they are a reality to be faced daily. As many have pointed out, we lived with burglar bars, remote controlled gates (most hijackings take place on the driveway) guard dogs, armed response and electric fences on top of 6 foot high walls. It is an unnatural way of living and we moved after seven close friends were all hijack victims. One had her two young children in the vehicle when it was taken, and it was only her heroism which saved them. Another close family member was shot six times after he was out of his vehicle and he was unarmed. The vehicle was later found abandoned.

Most South Africans are shocked by the senseless violence which accompanies burglaries, hijackings or theft in SA. It is wrong to use Apartheid as an excuse, as it should be condemned outright by any civilised society rather than excused because of the past. The savagery which is used on victims cannot be excused by any past event nor should it be tolerated by civilised society. Crime is often meaningless and it is neither because of Apartheid nor poverty - it is indicative of a society / system which are not tough enough on protecting all citizens.
Dee, South African in the UK

Yes crime is a problem, yes I have been robbed, cars stolen, yes I have security etc; but I have a good lifestyle, sun, sport, cheap beer, petrol, houses (I moved to the UK for six years and am back in Durbs). There's still a good few years in SA before one would have to seek greener pastures, my youngsters have a good school, do well at sport, generally live a healthier lifestyle. One learns to adapt, is conscious of ones surroundings and still very content in SA. I work in West Africa so SA is a bed of roses.
C. Seaton, Durbs, South Africa

My experience with crime has thankfully been very small. However I am very aware of the dangers around. I sleep with my gun and try to be as alert and prepared as possible. The real issue here is that there has been a huge population increase that the economy cannot compensate for. This added to a massive influx of foreigners from the North, where their own countries are in a shocking condition. A real Babel problem - 11 official languages and who knows how many foreign ones being spoken.

Once a person has left the scene of a crime, they fade so easily into the background. If the police stop someone they immediately "don't understand." This, together with recent political changes, make it difficult for them and normal citizens to simply ask loitering people what they are doing there difficult. A full time channel of songs that seem to be based on values where violence and drugs and sex are glorified make youngsters think that that's the way to go. It's not an easy situation and there is no quick fix.
Peter, South Africa

I lived in South Africa for 26 years, never seeing any serious crime. Then I moved to London, and within a year I had my car broken into. I called the "police" to ask if they were going to come investigate or take prints. They said refused and gave me a crime number instead. The grass isn't greener !
Duncan R, London UK, UK

I've never experienced it, but indeed I'm afraid of any one. What I told myself is not to trust anyone: female/male or young /old, danger is always there.
Tich, South Africa

My feeling is that if it's to get any better the socio economic situation needs to improve. For that to happen we need to attract investors and for that to happen there needs to be confidence that your investment is safe. This is logic a six year old child could understand, so how come Mbeki and his government seem to be ignoring this?
Simon, UK ex SA

I personally never experienced any crime in SA and I often worked near or in townships

Colin, England
I lived in SA for 20 years. I personally never experienced any crime in SA and I often worked near or in townships. And yet I had my car broken into four times in six months in England. I felt more fear in some American cities.
Colin, England

As a 30 year old born in SA spending most of my life here, I have stab wounds in my back, a few times I've had a gun shoved in my face, my car and house broken several times and I purchased another 'security' product this week. Enough said.
Peter Murgatroyd, Cape Town, South Africa.

I have lived in South Africa all my life and have been a victim of a vicious mugging, robbed goodness knows how many times, witnessed two separate armed robberies that went wrong, was within metres of a bomb blast in JHB and lost a dear cousin who was murdered┐ need I say, the murderer got off because the police "lost" the evidence - I can go on and on, but one thing is blatantly obvious, there will have to be zero tolerance of crime before anybody will put their confidence in South Africa to return or expect foreign investment to flow back into the country. When there is more economic confidence in South Africa there will be less unemployment and less crime and maybe the Rand will even strengthen! I wonder if the SA government has figured this out yet? No South African would leave their country and live abroad unless they desperately feared for their lives in South Africa!
Debbie Smith, London UK

Having lived in Southern Africa for 22 years, I made the decision to leave in '98. It is not an easy thing to do. My entire family still lives there. My brother tells me of how he chased a burglar down the road with his '45 Revolver. Murder and rape are constantly mentioned by everyone I know. Many of my friends have been hi-jacked (one for an old Volkswagen Beetle!) It seems that there is no regard for human life.

All that I can say about this to critics of people like me who leave, is that I can now sleep with my windows open. I do not live behind a 8 foot wall with razor wire and an electric fence. My front door opens right onto a street in downtown Montreal. There is no security gate. I park my car in the street. In my entire time in Canada, I have heard of only two cars that were stolen. There was no loss of life, something that could easily accompany that act in South Africa. People that say it is not "that" bad in South Africa have either never lived there, or have never left to find out how people live in the rest of the world. That is ignorance. Apartheid is partly to blame for this mess, but the government cannot continue to use that as a scapegoat. Educate the people. It is the single best thing that they could do.
Barry, Canada

The other hidden crime is the rampant corruption and ongoing fraud within the government departments

Angela, South Africa
I think every person in this country has been affected by crime in one way or another. Just in my immediate family there has been an attempted murder - my brother stabbed in his own house 14 times. All of us have had our cars broken into, one brother has had three vehicles stolen, all four of us have had our houses robbed, I have had a revolver pointed in my face in an attempted hijacking and all this is not taking into account the petty crimes. The most frightening factor is you think it is normal now to live with burglar bars, lock yourself into your house, have alarm systems, sleep with the alarm on at night, ensure that there are panic buttons throughout your house, 24 hour armed private security - that is just for your personal safety.

The other hidden crime is the rampant corruption and ongoing fraud within the government departments and to a lesser degree in business, I am an auditor who specialises in fraud within the government - I am guaranteed of a job until retirement. That's if I am not murdered and raped before I reach retirement age.
Angela, South Africa

I lived in South Africa for almost 9 months and in all that time I did not experience or see any crime. However, the stories of crime were never ending, day after day. This was in Jo'burg - working downtown in Bank City and living out in Sandton. I never went into Alexandria, but I did go to Soweto several times, in a nice car too (a BMW). My cousin still lives there and had the electric motor from his electric gates stolen! Frankly I was more scared to go east of the capital building in Washington DC than to be in South Africa. I'd go back tomorrow.
Brian Naylor, England

Having worked and have been robbed in Johannesburg, South Africa it is clear that there needs to be a multi-pronged approach and maybe crime will decrease: - remove the vast number of illegal weapons by amnesties, rewards, cash for arms etc. - education of the youth in previously disadvantaged areas. A protracted campaign on prevention might bring back big business into downtown Johannesburg
Chrysos, USA

I have experienced crime in South Africa, being mugged in Seapoint in 1998, through nobody else's fault than my own. I feel that if South Africa is to turn the tide on spiralling crime it needs to improve the education system, so that the young, mainly black, feel that there is hope of a better future and do not feel the need to resort to petty crime.
Matthew, UK

Until violence happens to you, it is easy to ignore or rationalise how to avoid it. After our house was invaded, at 2 am, we saw things quite differently and felt lucky to have escaped the grizzly violence that usually goes with such events in households. The violence appears to be indiscriminate and IS brutal, affecting many more black victims than others. Judging by the noise our dog caused, the invaders were ejected in a big hurry. Perhaps they weren't armed well enough. During the subsequent three hour police "investigation", 90% of the time was spent in querying us on how best the officers could move to Canada!

Investigating the crime was apparently just a waste of time! Living within our resulting 12,000 volt fence was no life either. Unless part of a plot to overthrow the country, the violence is out of control and helping to throttle the country's bright future. Occurrences, to you or to others just sap any enthusiasm you may have. I have no solutions, but only consolidated public action could do it and I doubt if that's now possible. Shortly before our departure, there was a major local crackdown on hijackers, with armed choppers and spotter planes often at tree-top level over our house. It seemed to have some effect then, but didn't last. Africa has ways around such retaliations.
Sadly disappointed, Canada

As a travel agent in New Zealand, I regularly deal with people who want to go to South Africa on holiday (usually rugby fans). I don't want to damage the SA tourism industry, nor do I want to put people off travelling (I do want their money after all), but I feel morally obliged to tell potential visitors stories such as the ones posted on this site, so that when they get there, they are not shocked by the barbed wire and sounds of gunfire.
Andrew, New Zealand

It proves that if you treat a human being like an animal, then that is how they will behave. Every country that has thrown off the shackles of totalitarianism has had to deal with a soaring crime rate for a time. The crime rate in the former Soviet Union is a prime example. I'm certain that once the South African people recover their dignity, the crime rate will drop.
Tom Byrne, USA

I think its interesting the way white people are quick to say how things were better under apartheid as if the trauma and the violence the blacks were subjected could be wished away. A lot of these people grew up in a violent atmosphere and their psychological makeup reflects this, just as I suspect a lot of whites hate blacks, the hatred is not going to disappear just because apartheid is no more. I think the judge's verdict on the case of Basson was unfortunate - this is to hoping he gets his comeuppance one way or the other.
Black Man, U.S.A

I saw the violence of South Africa with my own eyes, I worked on the docks packing bananas, and many times fights would break out or a car explode or something. Now I live in Hong Kong, life is much better here for me, no more craziness!
Hannes, Hong Kong, Ex SA

The whole country is definitely not dangerous, but only certain areas, as somebody on this page has already said. It should not put people off from visiting though. Most of my friends from Europe that have visited have returned or are planning a return visit. I don't know if I would go back to live there though.
Anton, formerly Cape Town, now UK

Unequivocally yes! South Africa's crime is appalling - criminals rule the streets in broad daylight. I'm black and feel ashamed that my country is a gangsters paradise. Criminals have more rights than law abiding citizens. Court documents go missing and the case gets dismissed and the criminals are back on the streets. I say we need zero tolerance policy in South Africa!How many more lives should we lose before criminals are put behind bars?
Maxwell, Asia

Let us not get caught up in the symptom and be blinded to the root cause. There is pervasive poverty in South Africa. For many who had looked forward to a better life in the post-apartheid era, it is now a choice between death by starvation and engaging in dishonourable acts to survive. An encounter with such a dilemma brings out the worst instinct for self-preservation and survival in man. This is the fundamental problem, for the most part. What can the government do? Redistribute wealth quicker and more vigorously, create jobs, and empower the youth through education.
Moses Ebe Ochonu, Nigeria

As a former resident of South Africa, I can honestly say that the only reason I left the country was because I feared for the life of my son, my husband and myself. My family were first victims of crime when I was in my teens, but it was petty, taking place when we weren't home. The next time we were victims, we were also out, one evening, but our home was like a fortress - bars on every window (even the ones that didn't open!), security gates on the doors, a dog. Yet they still managed to break in - coming in through the roof! It was my first real experience of crime, losing sentimental items, of no value to anyone but me. But it scared me, and it made me realise that there were people out there who didn't care - they just wanted what they could get their hands on.

The next incident took place a couple of years later. A neighbour came home one evening, disturbing a robbery in her home. She turned around, and walked out, not wanting confrontation. She was chased, and shot in the back, trying to climb over a 6ft fence that had barbed fencing on top. I will never forget the sound of her groaning, asking for help. I can still hear it now. Shortly after that my husband lost a dear friend, who was murdered in his own bed, the contents of his home were put into his car, and the murderer drove away, leaving behind a devastated family. The night he died his only daughter gave birth to his first grandchild. It breaks my heart to think about that moment. Not six months later, we were the victims once again. This time we were robbed in broad daylight. We had all the usual - dogs, bars on the windows, bars on the doors, six foot fencing with security gates. And it still didn't stop them. We were cleaned out, and that was the moment that we decided to quit South Africa. We gave ourselves a year to save up the money, and one year later we left.
Tina Hattingh, United Kingdom

My company does business with a distributor located near Johannesburg. They trade from an industrial unit, surrounded by a high security fence, with constant armed security on-site. Last year, a large truck drove off the nearby highway, straight through the fence, and through the side wall of the unit. Around 10 armed men (both black and white) got out, shot two staff members (fortunately not fatally) and then calmly loaded the truck, backed out of the unit, and drove back onto the highway. As they left, they came under fire from the security guards. One of the robbers was hit and killed, and was thrown out of the back of the truck as it drove away. The whole thing sounds like something out of a Hollywood movie, but apparently it wasn't even lead story on the local news that night!
John, England

I have been hijacked by five armed robbers, I have chased burglars out of my yard, and I have turned my house into a veritable fortress

Darren Olivier, South Africa
As a citizen of Johannesburg, I have encountered crime in various ways. I have been hijacked by five armed robbers, I have chased burglars out of my yard, and I have turned my house into a veritable fortress, with burglar-proof bars on the windows, security doors, all round electric fencing, and an alarm system linked to a 24hr armed response company. Through all this, I have found the police to be overworked, stressed, and disheartened because of what they see as "the system failing them."

Very few criminals ever get to see the inside of a court room, and the few that do are invariably let out on bail. Every time. Besides this, the police are being governed by ever stricter laws regarding the use of their firearms, in which the policeman is obliged to wait until fired at, before any return shots can be fired. As such, policeman in South Africa are utterly demoralised and without hope. We have one of the world's highest police suicide rates, and it's not surprising why. How can anybody expect these men to continue doing the best they can, day after day, undergoing the same stresses as soldiers in wartime, but for much longer, and there's no indication that they're winning this war. Simply put, the government of South Africa has failed its people. The police are losing faith in the very cause they're meant to fight for, and the public does not have any respect or trust for the SAPS anymore.
Darren Olivier, South Africa

I strongly disagree with the statement that "South Africa is the most dangerous country in the world which is not at war". It is true that there are certain parts of the country with incidents of crime like anywhere in the world for example, down town Johannesburg and in the townships. South Africa has made very good progress in reconciling her people both black and white from the vestitutes of apartheid. What seemS to puzzle me is the alarmist statistics and media hype about South African Aids, crime, rape, currency fluctuations etcetera. Africans need to aggressively market their achievements by building on the good work of Nelson Mandela, Nyerere, Senghor and Metsire.
Matthias Kulubya, London,U.K

How can someone living in London comment on the crime in south Africa as one of the previous gentlemen has? We live here and see and experience what is happening! I personally know many who have been hijacked, shot at, etc. I have had a high-jacking right outside of my studio. I have had a car stolen. I have had my caravan broken into - need I go on? Our present Government continues to blame apartheid long after it ahs been dismantled, so as to cover up their own incompetence in running the country.

I have had many Blacks tell me that they were better off in all respects under the old regime. 20 years back we never had a country full of squatter camps and such a high unemployment rate. We could walk the streets in comparative safety, but not now! It is about time our Government wakes up and starts to do something positive and not worry about the problems in other countries.
Dennis Clark, South Africa

Have you experienced crime in SA? Nobody living in SA has not! Some even believe it is normal.
E.G., South Africa

Simply put, more police, heavier sentences, and anything that can combat the criminal culture that has grown up in the country

Matthew Roberts, U.K.
On my car alone, over the course of the last five or six years: three radios stolen (with or without removable face-plates), four smashed windows, one door-lock cut out, before it was finally stolen a year ago. With a steering-wheel lock on it. My grandfather has been mugged twice and hijacked once. Simply put, more police, heavier sentences, and anything that can combat the criminal culture that has grown up in the country. Until that happens, I'm staying well away.
Matthew Roberts, U.K.

Like most other African countries, upon the exit of the British, the countries have taken a never-ending downward spiral. Unemployment has increased, financial loans have increased, output has dropped, the population has increased with no planning for the future. Essentially the Governments have acted like termites to a house. Most houses have crumbled beyond recognition.

Perhaps independence was not such a good think after all? Or is it that the general population has never learnt how to hold leaders accountable for their actions. The average human mind assimilates to the environment, and if this environment is corrupt then that quality is propagated. Therefore the environment must be cleaned of all the refuse, but that can only happen if the living conditions of EVERY citizen are improved.
Hamad Sheikh, USA

No I haven't, but it's put me off visiting!
Matt, UK

A clear demonstration of how South Africa is now much, much better than it ever was under the apartheid government. No, it isn't their fault. Sometime or other, Thabo Mbeki and Nelson Mandela will have to accept that this isn't the fault of the apartheid administration.
Graeme Phillips, UK

I think this is the legacy of apartheid. It takes a while to get rid of it. It looks like the goverment of Mbeki drew a special atteintion to it, that's good.
Gamtaa Kumsaa, Ethiopia

See also:

11 Apr 02 | Africa
Living in SA's crime capital

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