Crime: sorted

Incoming: Great news from SAPS (The South African Police Service)!

After a weekend which will inevitably be filled with murder, rape, burglary and violence across South Africa, all will be sorted from 10am on Monday, when the police service hold their prayer day. Yippee!

According to the media release:

 The prayer will among other things focus on the following:

  • Safety for police officers
  • Reduction of crime in general
  • Reduction of gender-based violence

But will it work? Well, apparently, yes it will, because they tell us that:

A collective prayer has the power to protect and save police officers and preserve the nation. Police officials are responsible for protecting the community and our prayers can help save our police officials from harm.

It does make you wonder why, given the power that a collective prayer obviously possesses, no-one has come up with this idea before. Why waste time with community intervention, detective work and shooting miners when we could all come together, say a few words and kill all those birds with one stone, thus finding ourselves all leaving in a harmonious utopia?

Except, they have tried this before: last year:

The SAPS’s National Prayer Day is at the SAPS’s Tshwane Training Academy in Pretoria West from 10:00 to 12:30 on Tuesday, 13 August 2013. Employees of the South African Police Service are encouraged to attend this worthy event. It is through the divine intervention of the Almighty that we stay protected and reach our goal in the fight against crime.

Yep – the divine intervention of the Almighty will sort everything out, starting at 10am on the 13th August.
So, how did that work out for them, then? Well, here are a few lines from a synopsis of the crime stats released last week:

  • For the first time in 20 years the number of murders and the murder rate has increased for a second consecutive year.
  • This means that there were 809 more people murdered than in the previous year.
  • There has been an increase in all categories of robbery over the past year.
  • Vehicle hijacking increased by 12.3% to 11,221 incidents. This means that 31 motor vehicles were hijacked every day on average in 2013/14.

Oops. And, tragically:

Between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2014 a total 68 police officers were killed in the line of duty.

So, one has to ask where this confidence in the power of the prayer “to protect and save police officers and preserve the nation” has come from?
Perhaps, like the big guy upstairs that their prayers are aimed at, it’s all just made up.

The media is cordially invited to attend the prayer service.

No thanks.

I needed that…

Back to Cape Town and back home after a couple of days at the cottage and I have realised that I needed a break there to remind me that this is a good country to live in.

Don’t get me wrong. SA is my home. My house is here, my wife and kids were born here and I have settled in like a duck settling into water (big splash, few ruffled feathers, some soggy bread). And I love it here. But coming back from our recent visit to the UK, I was again reminded about the thing I don’t enjoy in SA: the lack of personal freedom. (and the fast internet – Ed.)

Even living (as we do) in a leafy, decent suburb, people are uneasy about going out at night. While we were in the UK, wandering up the road to the pub each evening was great. Here, the roads are poorly lit, the standard of driving is poor, especially in the evenings and the chances of being mugged are unnecessarily high. We all live and exist behind great big, high walls and I miss the freedom that living in the UK gives you.

But that’s in the city. Down in Agulhas, things are so much more open. No walls, no electric fences. (I hope I’m not giving the burglars helpful information here.) I needed to be reminded that this can happen here. And we made the most of it. Beach, braai, beer. Brilliant.

It reset my system and I am at peace again.

Two front teeth

Meanwhile in the Isle of Man…
Things move slowly here. It’s like Cape Town slow and then some. Let me enlighten you as to the current to story over here on the IOMtoday website:

Police are requesting for information regarding an assault which occurred in Willaston at around 11:30pm on Saturday.

Officers want to speak with a man who is described as being in his early 20s, about 6ft in height, with light brown/blond hair in a messy style and is missing both two upper front teeth. He was wearing light blue denim jeans and shirt at the time.

Anyone with information as to the man’s identity is asked to contact Douglas police headquarters on 631212 or call Isle of Man Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

The Cape Town connection in that description wasn’t lost on me. The only thing they don’t state is whether the teeth were present before the incident in question.
I’m also well aware that I am about 6ft in height (bit more actually) with light brown/blond hair in a messy style. Having just checked, however, my teeth are intact.

Ten Years

I remember going and watching some comedy festival or other soon after I arrived in SA back in 2004. One of the British comics there was poking fun at the low cost of living here and the favourable exchange rate, tying it in to a sign he’d seen near Cape Town:

Please Do Not Feed The Baboons – Fine R500

The tale goes that the comedian felt sorry for the poor baboons not being fed and decided to throw them an impromptu tea party, which obviously proved extremely popular with the local primate population and was therefore well attended. When the authorities turned up, the Brit happily got out his wallet with the R500  “monopoly money” fine therein, only to be told that it was “R500… per baboon”.

Sure, it’s not funny when it’s explained – delivery is everything – but that “R500… per baboon” punchline has remained with my wife and I since that day and is used to describe those situations where the penalty or cost seems unusually harsh or high for any given situation.
And it would work very nicely here, with this warning that I spotted today on the side of an automatic pool cleaner (or “Kreepy Krauly“) box:

Yes, apparently: “In terms of the section 2 of the Import and Export Control Act of 1989 (Act 45 of 1983), it is illegal to export Automatic Pool Cleaners and parts thereof. Section 4 of the Act provides that anyone convicted of exporting Automatic Pool Cleaners and parts thereof may be sentenced to a 10 (ten) year term of imprisonment and a fine of R40 000 (forty thousand rand).”

Wow. Who knew?
Sure, drugs, stolen goods, money even – all have understandable restrictions on their import and export. But Automatic Pool Cleaners (and parts thereof)? Why?

I haven’t had a lot of sleep this week and it may be for that reason that I can’t come up with any good reason why this may be, save for maybe some businessman slipping a backhander to his mate in the Apartheid government in order to protect his local Automatic Pool Cleaner business from cheaper foreign imports. In addition, I really don’t have time to research this further today, so if anyone does have the genuine reason (or any suggestion) why this may be the case, please drop it into the comments below.

In the meantime, “Ten Years… per automatic pool cleaner”…?

Rabbit Riots

With the UK riots just a distant memory now and the majority of the perpetrators safely behind bars already, I was shocked to find a family who appear to have got away almost scot-free; this despite documented evidence that they were part of the problems faced by Britain at that time.
Rest assured that I have already passed on all I know to the relevant authorities. However, I thought that I should also share this damning evidence with my readers – and indeed name and shame those individuals responsible, the majority of whom appear to go by their gang names: Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail and Peter.

You can’t blame the kids: they live in an absolute hole. There’s no father figure in their lives – he was killed while carrying out a robbery – and their mother seems uncaring. Indeed, as far as I can see, they are pretty much left to their own devices for the whole day as she heads out shopping, merely telling them:

Now run along and don’t get into mischief.

Immediately, ignoring her advice, 3 of the children head out looting:

Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail who were good little bunnies, went down the lane to gather blackberries.

Presumably “the lane” is White Hart Lane in Tottenham and the blackberries come from the local O2 shop.

But this story centres mainly around the eldest sibling, Peter. While the others are illegally garnering crappy cellphones, he engages in trespass and theft in the garden of a local elderly resident.

First he ate some lettuces and French beans; then he ate some radishes;
And then, feeling rather sick, he went to look for some parsley.

I’m guessing “parsley” is street slang for marijuana or some such illicit substance.

All is going well for Peter until, smashed off his face on “parsley”, he encounters the homeowner and a chase ensues. Now all too often, we have heard of these OAPs keeling over with a heart attack, but fortunately, this guy seems stronger, and armed with a gardening implement, he goes after Peter.

Peter hides in an outbuilding and – in an effort to change his appearance – sheds his jacket. However, the old man tracks him down and Peter ends up smashing a window, “upsetting three plants” and possibly getting injured while escaping:

After a time, he began to wander about , going lippity-lippity – not very fast and looking all around.

Once he believes the coast is clear, he decides to make a run for it and manages to make it back home. No questions are asked as to where he has been or what he has done – indeed, his mother merely doses him up with camomile tea (the leporine equivalent of ritalin, I suppose) before he heads off to bed.

It’s a truly shocking tale and the worst bit about it is that it is openly and widely available to our children. Are there really lessons in here that we want to teach them? That non-existent parenting is acceptable? That petty crime has no consequences? That regular use of parsley is not something to be concerned about?

Is it any wonder we find ourselves facing these problems?