Halt de­scent to law of the jun­gle

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - OPINION -

THE GLOBAL Peace In­dex, pro­duced by the In­sti­tute for Eco­nom­ics and Peace, is pro­duced an­nu­ally and keeps track of the most dan­ger­ous coun­tries in the world.

It ranks 163 in­de­pen­dent coun­tries, based on how peace­ful they are (or, con­versely, how dan­ger­ous). Th­ese coun­tries cover more than 99.7% of the world’s pop­u­la­tion and are as­sessed us­ing 23 in­di­ca­tors, each banded on a scale of 1 to 5.

In the lat­est re­port, Syria re­mains the most dan­ger­ous coun­try for the third con­sec­u­tive year and has con­sis­tently ranked among the five most dan­ger­ous coun­tries in the world since the start of its civil war in 2013. Un­sur­pris­ingly, Afghanistan, South Su­dan, Iraq and So­ma­lia are also ranked as some of the most dan­ger­ous coun­tries in the world. South Africa comes in at num­ber 39.

If this flat­ters us, then yes­ter­day’s crime sta­tis­tics re­leased by the SAPS, with Sta­tis­tics SA, cov­er­ing crimes be­tween April last year and March this year, should bring us down to earth with a thump.

The stats paint a grim pic­ture. They show why South Africa is in the league of coun­tries such as Belize, Hon­duras and Venezuela in the mur­der stakes.

The worst coun­tries listed by the Global Peace In­dex are tech­ni­cally at war, while we are not. Any coun­try not at war that has seen more than 20 000 of its peo­ple mur­dered in 12 months should get a wake-up call.

The stats show that 57 mur­ders a day are com­mit­ted in South Africa. This works out to 35.7 peo­ple mur­dered per 100 000 pop­u­la­tion. There were also 40 035 re­ported rape cases in the same pe­riod.

This is un­ac­cept­able. Apart from the fact that such crime lev­els dent our coun­try’s im­age – and af­fect things such as tourism and in­vest­ment – South Africans de­serve to live in peace and safety.

No won­der most South Africans are clam­our­ing for the re­turn of the death penalty. Crim­i­nals know they can get away with their vile mis­deeds. If they knew they stood a good chance of be­ing ar­rested, con­victed and locked away for a long time, they would think twice be­fore com­mit­ting a crime.

To this end, we must jack up our polic­ing – and our jus­tice sys­tem. Our cops are un­der­trained, over­worked and un­der­paid. It is the govern­ment’s duty to pro­tect its ci­ti­zens.

Any­thing less is a de­scent to­wards anar­chy and the law of the jun­gle.

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