The Economy and Elections Suffer Due to the Rising Crimes in South Africa

The Economy and Elections Suffer Due to the Rising Crimes in South Africa

The Economy and Elections Suffer Due to the Rising Crimes in South Africa

The crime and corruption rate ranks higher than the unemployment rate in South Africa.

South Africa’s most developed nation, Cape Town has been burdened with the highest crime rates in the whole world. According to the estimation of the World Bank, all criminal activities affect the economy and take up around 10%, or $40 billion of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) every year. The number of murders shot up to 17,500 in the previous year.

A store in a working-class area of Cape Town was just preparing to open when a group of gunmen stormed in and held the staff hostage for some cigarettes and cash, in November. Another major incident took place in February when an executive of Rand Water, the largest bulk water utility was shot dead by an armed man firing at close range. He was addressing a group of School children on the outskirts of Johannesburg. Another up-and-coming, 24-year-old soccer star was gunned down in April during a car hijacking.

The fearless violence and attacks have increased and intensified to a great point that crime now has become a major part and issue of South Africa’s tightest election after apartheid. Apartheid is a policy or system of segregation or discrimination on grounds of race. The ruling African National Congress (ANC) is likely to be forced into a coalition government for the first time. A survey by IPSOS, a multinational market research and consulting firm mentioned that ANC support is at 40%, which is 57.5% below the vote that the party won in the 2019 elections.

The unholy alliance between COSATU, the ANC, and the SACP that governed South Africa for almost 30 years, has caused unemployment and brought misery upon millions of citizens. It robbed the dignity of a job and the ability to provide for their families.

The crime and corruption rate ranks higher than the unemployment rate in South Africa where one-third of the country’s population is jobless. This becomes a key concern for the voters in the upcoming elections, according to the Social Research Foundation. The corruption is from 64% in 2022 which is bigger than their original worry about unemployment said a poll of South Africans aged between 18-24.

The voters are frustrated over the government’s incapability to minimize the rising crime rates, which may be one of the reasons that the ANC to lose their 30 years of power in the upcoming elections.

Luke Fluers grew up in a South African township where some of his friends joined a criminal gang before high school but he being so brilliant in soccer rose to be a professional player at South Africa’s top club. Luke’s passion for soccer kept him out of trouble but while growing up he had a friend who was in prison for murder, and another was killed in a shooting.

His success story ended abruptly last month when he was killed at the petrol station waiting to be attended in Johannesburg. The Kaizer Chief Defender’s murder sparked public grief due to his profile and also highlighted South Africa’s crime problem. The country has the highest murder rates with an average of 75 a day.

The South African police arrested six suspects for the murder who gunned down as he refilled his car at a gas station in a northwestern suburb of the city. The investigators believe the suspects are part of a crime syndicate.

“We are reaching a tipping point, and we need to deal with it or it’s going to be a downhill battle,” said Jenni Irish Qhobosheane, who is a researcher at the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, or GI-TOC.

South Africa was ranked number 7 out of 193 countries in the infiltration of organized crime into the economy by GI-TOC last year. It was placed at 19th, two years before this. That puts the nation in the same group as Colombia, Myanmar, and Nigeria. Crime prevails in all sectors of the nation causing major damage. Gold producers face an invasion of heavily armed illegal miners. Retailers and manufacturers are victims of heists and are looted. Construction companies are being blackmailed to hand over a portion of project costs to local crime groups.

Effects of the crime, the companies are spending millions for protection. Coal miners are paying for drones and security teams to limit theft of the fuel. Banks are employing private armies to tackle gangs that block and rob trucks that are transporting cash to ATMs or other branches.

The increasing crime rates have proven to be good for only one sector of the economy. There are more than 2.7 million registered private security officers in South Africa making it the largest security industry in the world, according to Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority.

To make the situation better the government has formed 20 special teams to help address crimes like illegal mining, construction site extortion, and vandalism to economic infrastructure. In November 2023, there have been more than 4000 arrests for damage to infrastructure and 3000 for illegal mining. 

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