No to a gang­ster state

CityPress - - Voices -

Bur­glary at homes, busi­nesses and of­fices is one of the crimes that South Africans fear most. In the re­cent past, we have read about, or watched on TV, fam­i­lies left trau­ma­tised af­ter the com­mis­sion of such acts – mostly be­cause crim­i­nals were so bru­tal in car­ry­ing out their mis­deeds.

The an­nual crime statis­tics, re­leased in Septem­ber, put the num­ber of home bur­glar­ies at 250 606, while for busi­nesses the fig­ure was 75 008.

But the re­cent break-ins and theft at the Of­fice of the Chief Jus­tice in Midrand, and the break-in at the home of former so­cial de­vel­op­ment di­rec­tor-gen­eral Zane Dan­gor are wor­ry­ing signs for the coun­try. One of the two cars in­volved in the crime at Dan­gor’s home may have been used to try to gain en­try into the home of SA So­cial Se­cu­rity Agency (Sassa) boss Thokozani Mag­waza.

All the in­ci­dents hap­pened af­ter the Con­sti­tu­tional Court ruled on the so­cial grants pay­ment cri­sis, which threw the con­tin­ued pay­ment of grants to more than 17 mil­lion ben­e­fi­cia­ries into doubt.

The po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing th­ese cases. Whether they were com­mit­ted for purely crim­i­nal rea­sons or more ne­far­i­ous mo­tives is, as yet, un­known. Time will re­veal the rea­sons – if we ever get to the bot­tom of the cases.

As a na­tion, we must not al­low even the per­cep­tion that we are de­scend­ing into a gang­ster state, where un­der­hand tac­tics are brazenly ap­plied to achieve what can­not be ac­com­plished through le­gal means. In this state, po­lit­i­cal as­saults as­sume the guise of break-ins, hi­jack­ings and even murders.

In gang­ster states, mafias and syn­di­cates ex­ist along­side gov­ern­ing elites with whom they share the same greedy in­ter­ests. Their com­mon en­emy is the rule of law and the in­sti­tu­tions that uphold it. Rus­sia, un­der Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin – a great friend of some of our lead­ers – is a clas­sic ex­am­ple of a gang­ster state.

South Africans who view the in­ci­dents at the Chief Jus­tice’s of­fice and the homes of Dan­gor and Mag­waza as the start of a slide into a gang­ster state are jus­ti­fied. All the po­lit­i­cal par­ties were cor­rect in say­ing that what­ever the mo­tive, the break-in at the Chief Jus­tice’s of­fice struck at the heart of our con­sti­tu­tional democ­racy. So did the other in­ci­dents.

If there are at­tempts to mimic Putin’s gang­ster state even in the slight­est way, South Africans must be alert to them and nip them in the bud.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.