Friday, September 07, 2007

Do you read the news, President Mbeki?

We know you browse the Internet. It is how you reportedly came up with some of your crackpot ideas on HIV and AIDS.

I wonder if you ever browse the online newspapers? Reading the actual homepages of News24, IoL, iAfrica and the Mail & Guardian will give you a hint of the horrific day-to-day crime affecting ordinary South Africans.

But subscribing to their RSS feeds will lay bare the true scale and horror of what people face each day. I am sure someone in the civil service will be able to show you how to access the RSS feeds. If not, just comment on this blog entry and I'll pop round and give you a hand.

Each day I browse through the headlines appearing in the feeds through Bloglines. It is a different experience to browsing the front pages. Because most of these stories don't make the front pages anymore.

I fought against the CrimeExpo website because I disagreed with its stated intention of scaring of tourists and shaming South Africa. Also, it used fraudulent images and sensationalism to make its point.

I have tried to be involved in fighting crime, giving up substantial income to be involved. I am looking for other ways to make this involvement work.

I have had many opportunities to emigrate over the years and yet remain here.

I have recently had an intruder in my home and chased him off. I remain committed to this country.

But I perceive a paranoia in acknowledging crime as a critical issue. Of course the government is trying. And of course you acknowledge it as an issue. But continued comments show a detachment and denial. You once said in an interview at the SABC in Auckland Park, "It is not like if I walk outside here in Auckland Park I will get shot." A few weeks later a man was shot on the streets in Auckland Park.

You have mentioned crime statistics of London to demonstrate that crime is worse elsewhere. Whether there are more murders per capita in Ecuador or Columbia is not the point. One can also point to the fact that while Calcutta is one of the poorest cities in the world, it is a relatively safe place with low crime rates.

The point is that that until crime is sufficiently rare that any of the headlines below are greeted with disgust and shock - not weary sadness - crime must be declared a national emergency.

A selection of those headlines from the last few days:

The couple in happier times. (Beeld)
Woman finds dead fiance

A young woman who became worried when she did not hear from her fiancé, set out to look for him and accidentally stumbled onto the Midrand scene where he had been shot dead.

But in a cruel twist, it appeared that her fiancé had been killed by the same robbers who had hijacked her car ten days before.

Gang-rape teens still at large

Mpumalanga police are still searching for five teenagers who were part of a gang that raped a 20-year-old woman. Three teenagers aged 15, 16 and 17 were arrested in Mafube village near Balfour and appeared in Balfour Magistrate's Court on Monday.

KZN farm manager attacked

Michael Coppard, a manager at the farm, near Howick, and his wife Joan were confronted on Wednesday by two casual labourers who requested permanent employment. The men then produced an axe and a knife and threatened to attack them. The attackers made off with R1 300, their cellphones, bank cards, electrical appliances and their bakkie.

Pupils arrested for alleged armed robbery

Four pupils aged between 16 and 18 were arrested for armed robbery in Vanderbijlpark outside Johannesburg. The pupils were arrested after they allegedly robbed people of their cellphones at gunpoint.

Mom, dad, face rape charges

A Parow couple, charged with raping and indecently assaulting their own daughter over a period of 10 years, appeared in the Bellville Magistrate's Court on Thursday.

'I smeared mud on her genitals'

A 21-year-old man was convicted of the rape, murder and robbery of his pregnant aunt after changing his plea to guilty in the Grahamstown High Court on Thursday. Themba Ngxokongxa, of Sivwe, Komga, admitted that he had intentionally assaulted, raped, and murdered Sindiswa Kalani, 30, and then robbed her of R13 and her identity document.

Ammunition 'heist cop' in court

Mabutana Richards Msibi, a metro police officer, appeared briefly before Magistrate Samuel Mashimbye in the Germiston Magistrate's Court on Wednesday on charges of possessing ammunition and an unlicensed firearm. Msibi was arrested on Monday after police found him in possession of 133 rounds for an AK-47 and 103 rounds of 9mm ammunition. This was the second time within a year that the officer had been arrested for the same offence. In December, he was allegedly caught with ammunition and R10 000 in counterfeit money. That case was thrown out of court because vital information had gone missing from the docket.

Grandfather allegedly rapes girl

A seven year-old schoolgirl shocked her teacher during a health lesson by saying that her grandfather had raped her, police said on Thursday.

Hijacked man bludgeoned to death

In a cruel twist of fate, a Glenwood man who turned paramedics and police away after he was hijacked on Tuesday night was brutally bludgeoned to death in his Moore Road home later that evening. The body of Arthur Rippin, 77, was found when police returned to his home to take a statement.

Pupil allegedly hacked to death by gang

A Cape Town high school pupil has been hacked to death in front of his parents in a brazen late-night gang attack. Thando Komani died after an attack on his family's home in Langa on Monday night. And while the Grade 9 pupil was being butchered with pangas, he fought only to protect his little two-year-old sister from harm.

Cops won't book thief

Pretoria - A man who caught a thief on his property in Mayville and took him to the police, was turned away at Wonderboom police station because there was "not enough evidence".

Rapists 'can't be rehabilitated'

The State on Wednesday urged Judge Leona Theron to hand down the maximum sentence possible for three men found guilty of rape as none of the three men could be expected to be rehabilitated. The men raped three Durban women at a beach house in Pennington, south of Scottburgh, on December 29 last year. Later that night they attacked and robbed a Sandton couple. The court heard that each three men had previously been convicted for a number of crimes and had served time in prison.

'He heard a pistol being cocked'

A Sabie man believes that if his brother-in-law had not fought fiercely with a robber, he and his father would probably have been "executed". The two robbers arrived at Global Products at Tweefontein near Sabie at about 07:00 and attacked the two men. They were forced to lie on the ground while their office was searched and plundered. "Henk said one of the robbers later came and stood over them. When he heard a pistol being cocked, he realised that they were about to be killed," Basson said. Henk jumped up and tackled one of the robbers, and also hit him with a chair at one stage. "The next moment a shot was fired. One of the robbers shot Anton in the back," Basson said. While Henk was still struggling with one of the attackers, the other one shot him. He was hit in the stomach and hip.

Ryan Holmes and his girlfriend Tanja Lendowsky in January. (Beeld)
'We just need a miracle'

After being too scared to go out at night since being held up by armed robbers at his home six weeks ago, a Midrand Tukkie student ventured out for the first time on Sunday - only to be hijacked and shot in the head a few hours later.

Gunmen rob Carnival City casino

An armed gang of about 15 men shot and wounded several people in the Carnival City casino on Johannesburg's East Rand shortly after midnight on Sunday. They fired shots inside, wounding several people and assaulted one customer with a firearm. The gang also robbed patrons of cellphones and wallets. Police confronted them at the exit as they tried to make their getaway in several cars and a shootout ensued. Two police officers were wounded and were in a stable condition.

Court case plagued with strange delays

Three rapists' sentencing had been postponed 20 times since 2005 by controversial High Court Judge Ntsikelelo Poswa. Then, he also granted the men bail - without them seeking it. Two of the men disappeared last month.

'Cops left me to be raped'

When Marilyn White tearfully begged the police to rescue her from her child-sex abuser and mental patient ex- husband, they accused her of being drunk and trying to punish a "kind man".

Teen kills gran

A 17-year-old schoolboy who killed his grandmother because she would not give him any money, was sentenced in the Durban High Court to 10 years' imprisonment on Friday.

'No, I'm not going to Voertsek'

"Voertsek!" ("Get lost") That was the response from three armed hijackers when a young pregnant woman from Kempton Park begged them to hand over her two-year-old child before they drove off with her vehicle. "I became hysterical and pleaded for him to give me my child. After I had repeated my plea several times, he picked her up and gave her to me." Shortly after Prinsloo's car had been hijacked, a 60-year-old woman was shot nearby, while being hijacked in her driveway.

Heist millionaires

Cash-in-transit heists created at least 46 millionaire gangs last year. Many of the criminals who took part in targeting security companies who transport cash may not be behind bars. They are more likely to be free and enjoying the fruits of their lethal criminal labour - lavish lifestyles, fast cars, beautiful women and the respect of their communities.

'Hefty' men rape schoolgirl

Two hefty men grabbed the Grade 9 pupil while she was on her way home. "The two took her to an opened veld near to her school and raped her."

Famous DJ hit hard by murder, rape of aunt

A DJ's mom murdered and her one year old grandson left next to her body for a day and a half. In case you believe whinging about crime is the white perogative, this was another one of the many township murders.

Woman was stabbed while holding baby - police

Lauren Shankland, 28, had been bludgeoned and stabbed to death during a robbery late on Thursday afternoon. Indications were that she had been holding the 2-month-old baby when she was attacked.

Image of 'butchers' burnt in her memory

At 4.15am on November 13 2005, Collette Borain awoke inside a horror-movie scene.

Her husband Christopher was being butchered by a gang of robbers armed with steak knives and a long breadknife. This week she faced them in court.

Matric robbed in their exam

54 students, supervised by four staff members, were nearing the end of their accounting exam on Wednesday when they were held at gunpoint while the school was robbed.

Tongue, genitals removed

The mutilated body of a 17-year-old boy was found near Pella Village in Madikwe on Thursday, North West police said. His tongue and genitals had been removed. Meanwhile, a 13-year-old boy who was found mutilated on August 5 near a village outside Rustenburg remained in a serious condition, Jacobs said.

Ex-lover shot in the face

A second Pietermaritzburg woman has become the victim of domestic violence after she was shot in the face, police said on Friday.

Rapist: I'm really stressed

As a couple was walking home at midnight after visiting their minister, Allah attacked them, knocked the man unconscious with a large stone and throttled his wife until she too was unconscious before raping her. The rapist is now stressed because he is a prison far from home.

Men avenged 'witchcraft' murder

Three men in the Mpoza municipality in Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape have been arrested on Thursday for the murder of two men who they alleged had used witchcraft to kill their parents.

Jhb cop shot during robbery

A policeman was shot while responding to a robbery. It happened after a Fairvale couple was woken by the sound of breaking glass in their Wilson Street home in the early hours of the morning and they alerted police.

Man shot 10 times by robbers survives

An employee of a cash loan company in Port Elizabeth was shot ten times after three men tried to rob the business on Friday morning.

Farmer's killers get life

The farmer was driving to his Daviddale farm in Amsterdam near Ermelo on July 4 last year when he was approached and stopped by the four men. The four shot Wolfaardt and set his car alight.

Baby scalded with boiling water

It was alleged that the child's 18-year-old mother had a misunderstanding with her brother at their home in Q Section, Umlazi on Saturday.

"The brother apparently took boiling water and threw it over the little boy."

Tannie makes robbers tidy up

An elderly woman who was tied up and had to watch helplessly while burglars cleaned out her house for the second time in a fortnight, nevertheless made sure they cleaned up before leaving.

Hijackers run rampant on KZN North Coast

A man was wounded and a woman and two good Samaritans robbed of their vehicles amid a high-speed chase on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast.

Life terms for 'needless killing of an innocent'

After robbing 63-year-old Lynette Oosthuizen, who lived alone on a Boston, KwaZulu-Natal, farm, two intruders strangled her to prevent her from identifying them. She was killed on the evening of 23 August after she surrendered her money, a gun, jewellery, her bakkie keys and other items to them. They put her body in her bakkie, drove to the Bulwer area and threw her body over a cliff.

Rapist warns six-year-old not to tell

A six-year-old girl has been lured to a man's shack and raped in Tembisa on the East Rand. The man lured her to his shack where he undressed her, raped her and then warned her not to tell anyone. However, her mother spoke to her when she found the child crying, and went to the police. The rapist was arrested. Police also arrested a 30-year-old man in Tembisa on Wednesday for the rape of a 10-year-old girl in February.

Robbers slit security guard's throat

A security guard at a Durban school was killed when a group of armed robbers slit his throat and then proceeded to rob the school. Eight men armed with knives cornered the night watchman at the Junajarth Primary School and proceeded to cut his throat. They then left him to bleed to death before knocking on the door of the school caretaker. The men took a DVD player, a television set, jewellery and cash from the caretaker's house before they broke into the school tuck shop. R500 and some stock was stolen from the tuck shop.

Cop killed in Soweto shootout

A policeman died in a shootout with robbers during a car chase in Soweto on Wednesday morning. He and his partner gave chase to a stolen vehicle when they saw it at Booysens in Johannesburg. A shootout ensued in Zola North. The sergeant was killed. The three robbers escaped. They were thought to have been armed with AK-47 assault rifles.

Man shot dead outside bank

A man was shot dead outside a Standard Bank branch in Boksburg North on Monday. While walking to his car parked at a Total garage in Atlas Road, the 50-year-old man was approached by three men. "One of them took out a handgun and shot him in the chest, fatally wounding him."

Young boy's genitals cut off

An eight-year-old boy's genitals were sliced off in bushes near a rivulet in Malamalele, near Giyani, Limpopo. The boy was playing in a street near his home when a 23-year-old man dragged him into the bushes on Saturday. Police caught the man later in possession of the body parts. He told the police he had intended selling them.

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