Is it just me or is there more crime? Plus 5 highlights from ‘Vrye Weekblad’

Here’s what’s hot in the latest edition of the Afrikaans digital weekly

12 August 2022 - 06:24
Police at a crime scene in Umlazi in KwaZulu-Natal. File photo.
Image: Supplied Police at a crime scene in Umlazi in KwaZulu-Natal. File photo.

The mass rape of women at an abandoned mine dump in Krugersdorp made her brain short circuit about rising crime levels in the country, writes Anneliese Burgess in this week’s edition of Vrye Weekblad.

A ping on our community WhatsApp group. Just before 3pm on a normal weekday afternoon in January: “Fatal shooting at Hildasia.”

This is a general dealer and petrol station in East London I travel past at least twice a day.  The owner’s children go to the same school as my daughter. Brandon’s baby was only two weeks old when he was shot in the chest behind the counter in his shop. The four perpetrators left in the vehicle in which they arrived, with the money they took from the cash register (seven months later they continue to be at large).

Former radio announcer Cobus Bester sent me a video of a gun battle in front of the pharmacy in Melville, Johannesburg. You see a guard in a black uniform hiding behind a pillar, shooting blindly into the street.

A friend in Chintsa in the Eastern Cape has suffered two robberies at her property in the past two months, the first time in the 40 years they have lived there.

My daughter’s former nanny sent me desperate messages. She must get out of Khayelitsha, Cape Town. Can I help her build a new shack in Langa? It is safer there. The tsotsis are targeting her son. She knows it is a matter of time before she or her daughter are raped. So many women are raped here, she told me almost hysterically in a voice note. She said she was raped in Philippi and can't go through “something like that" again.

Colleague Piet Croucamp found himself in the middle of a robbery at a Johannesburg garage. He hid in a shower with petrol attendants while men with semi-automatic weapons hijacked a Range Rover and robbed clients of watches, jewellery and cellphones.

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As a middle-class person I feel almost guilty to talk about crime. Because I know how much worse it is in Manenberg than in Melville.

That is how abnormal this country is. 

That the experience of crime is measured somewhere between “at least no-one died, at least no-one was raped” and mass murders in which 12 people are slaughtered in Khayelitsha or 16 people mowed down in Soweto.

We don’t mention the political assassinations, taxi violence and cash-in-transit heists that have become so part of our lives that they don’t even cause a blip on our radars.

That is how abnormal this country is. 

Must-read articles in this week’s Vrye Weekblad

>> Browse the full August 12 edition

WHO ARE THE ZAMA BOSSES? | The informal and illegal mining industry, run by the zama zamas, has grown massively over the past 20 years. While the miners toil in unsafe shafts, the masterminds sit in neat offices, making plans for the illegally mined gold to be legal, writes Erika Gibson. 

FREE TO READ — THE FALL OF THE HATE MONGERER | The January 6 committee are also looking at the US conspiracy king Alex Jones’ cellphone correspondence after his lawyer accidentally made it public. His troubles might have only begun, writes Willem Kempen.

THE WEEK IN POLITICS | The MAGA crazies and our own RET crazies have a lot in common, writes Max du Preez. And he thinks President Cyril Ramaphosa might walk away from the Phala Phala saga with a smile on his face. 

OH, BOKKE! | The Springboks’ triumph over the All Blacks last weekend will stay with him for the rest of his life, writes Piet Croucamp. Not just because the Bokke showed up for the event, but also because the SA rugby public was who we are when we are what we hoped to be. 

LOOK, MA, I’M A CELEBRITY | The one lot would do whatever for fame, the rest are the voyeurs putting money in their pockets. Louis de Villiers wonders which side is worse.