The crime wave that has washed through South Africa since the fall of apartheid, 13 years ago, continues unchecked.
Annually, 20,000 people are estimated to be killed and property loss through theft is incalculable. Worse still, South Africa has just passed India as home to the largest tally of AIDS in the world.
And those shanty towns that rim the big cities are still there, few have been replaced. Unemployment is 25%.
South Africa’s rising wave of crime, an article in The Christian Science Monitor, paints a distressing picture of a country few would be encouraged to visit.
Thus the big cities such as Johannesburg have become seedbeds for robbery and violent hijacking, making crime South Africa’s biggest problem. Sometimes it is the work of individuals; sometimes the work of organized gangs. One black editor, while in no way supporting the old apartheid regime, remarks wryly: “There was no city crime or unemployment in the old days. If you were a black without a [residence] pass and a letter from your boss saying you had a job, the police would run you out of town. Today, whether you are black or white, you take your life in your hands if you walk downtown at night.”