TRAGEDY REMAINS THE GREATEST CALL FOR (RE)ACTION
By: Bliss Ndapasowa
The average number of people murdered in South Africa on a daily basis.
This according to 2013/2014 crime statistics released by the South African Police Service in September this year, highlighting a 5% increase in murders.
It has become a self-evident truth that South Africa is one of the world’s most violent countries. The people tend to blame this on the justice system- a relatively fair judgment, which is unfortunately not the primary root of the crisis.
Generally, little commitment is evident when it comes to addressing crime in the country unless subjects of the matter are either famous or the predicament is exceptionally saddening.
Prominent human rights lawyer George Bizos confirmed this as he addressed the media at a press conference last week, announcing a gun-control campaign in a bid to honour the late Bafana Bafana captain and Orlando Pirates goalkeeper, Senzo Meyiwa, who was shot dead last week in an apparent robbery in Vosloorus.
“It usually takes a tragedy for people, a country, to say something needs to happen as a matter of urgency”, he said.
The death of the famous soccer player also resulted in various bodies from diverse fields pushing for stricter gun laws.
These include South African Football Association in conjunction with Gun Free South Africa. who will be marching to parliament to campaign for gun control and seek the surrender of illegal weapons.
According to crime statistics, 17 more people were killed the same day as Meyiwa. Had he not fall a victim, would the nation rally behind the call for stricter gun laws?
The idea of tragedy evoking response has regrettably become a trend in most communities in South Africa.
Violation of womens’ rights and rape became the point of focus earlier last year following the trial of Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius who shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year, and the murder of 17-year-old Anene Booysen who was gang raped and disembowelled before being left for dead.
The ANC Womens League marched in honour of Steenkamp and also stated their aim to stimulate united action to end barbaric actions against women and children.
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) also joined the fight and called for mass action and former DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko called for parliamentary hearings concerning Booysen’s case.
As history continues to repeat itself, it is clear that it is only when the well-known are affected do we receive a wake-up call.