Perception, as the saying goes, is reality. And often that is based on the worst possible lived experiences of people. The good is often not remembered at quite the same degree as that which had rubbed people the wrong way.
This country, rightly or otherwise, has often been named as the crime capital of the world. The jury on that, fortunately, will always be out. It is not the type of hat that will sit easily or proudly on any head. It is a dubious honour we as South Africans should strive to shake off, by all legitimate means necessary. But the efforts of those concerned will amount to nought if the will to fight crime at all levels is not demonstrable. And a good starting point would be to demonstrate that there are certain areas, for instance, churches, where crime of any nature – not least of all of such a brazen nature as armed robbery – will never be tolerated.
Just yesterday, The Sowetan reported in the newspaper of a bizarre spate of what appears to be arson in which branches of the biggest African independent church on the subcontinent, the ZCC, were set alight. Structures at four church branches in Soshanguve, northern Tshwane, are believed to have been attacked in this fashion. A few weeks earlier, there was a report of a gang that saw fit to attack and rob congregants at a church in Centurion, on the opposite end of the metropole. Now, what sane individual or people would take pleasure in going around torching church structures or robbing the faithful in this age of tolerance? Many would venture that perhaps this tolerance, taken in unhealthy dollops, is the problem.
We are a society that has tolerated what many would regard as highly unacceptable, sometimes from the highest office in the land to the lowest of the lowly among us. There is merit to the argument. A sage old saying proclaims that if people took care of the pennies, the pounds would take care of themselves. If authorities adhered to the broken window method and clamped down on what might be deemed petty crime, the greater war on crime will be as good as won. But again, it speaks to how far we have gone down the slippery road when arson attacks and armed robberies at churches are regarded as run of the mill crimes.
*Article appeared on NewsNow