Crime column – By Stanford Slabbert - 12 January 2006
Date: Thursday, February 02 @ 02:23:26 SAST
Topic: Crime and the Police in PE

My wish for 2006 is that it will be a year of Happiness, Prosperity and Good Health for all, and that the men and women of the SAPS will receive both the logistical and moral support that they deserve. With the right backing, they can attempt to curb our rising crime statistics.

Perusing the papers over the festive season, several stories highlighted the fact that, for many, it was not a time of festivity and joy, but one of trauma, horror, pain and death.

Road carnage, bus accidents, murders, rapes, and criminal activity, took up far too much space in our daily papers, giving credence to the fact that we live in a warped society.

It is a crime to see how badly people drive on the open road and over 1251 did not reach their destinations, usually dying because of the mistakes of the other driver. With a week to go before schools return, this figure will still rise.

Bus tragedies continue to haunt our country, and drivers and operators are equally to blame. Two notable stories were both along the Garden Route. There was the bus driver who evidently left his seat to get a cooldrink, leaving the speeding bus on some type of “autopilot”, resulting in a crash and several serious injuries. This driver must face the full consequences of his idiotic actions.

Then there was the Translux driver reportedly cavorting with his girlfriend whilst speeding on an overnight trip between East London and Cape Town. Fortunately, these passengers reached their destination safely, although it was reported as a trip “from hell”. If the allegations are true, this man should never be allowed behind the wheel again. And on Sunday, yet another Translux crash, outside J’Bay, resulting in three deaths. When will it stop!

Another tragic story was the Bus crash near Wepener, and then the mini-bus taxi taking mourners to the funeral also crashing, killing some mourners. Are these drivers qualified to be on our roads, let alone ferrying passengers whose lives are put at risk.

Too many murders and too many rapes occurred during the past six weeks for us to be able to say that we live in a normal society. It is sickening just how cheap life has become in Africa and surely the death penalty must be reinstated to help curb the horrific tales of murder and rape that are reported daily.

The gang rape of two young Jeffery’s Bay schoolgirls horrified everyone and the perpetrators are still at large. Criminals don’t give a damn about Government initiatives such as the recent 16 Days of activism against Women and Child abuse. They do what they want, and some get caught, and then get bail, and carry on with their horrendous crimes.

The murder of young Steven Siebert, 6, in Plett, is a direct result of government’s lenient approach to such criminals. Evidently the perpetrator was out on bail on child molestation charges, and he is a suspect in another child murder case. Remember, too, that the government released hundreds of other criminals just before Christmas, because jails were too full. How many of them committed more crimes will never be known.

The Christmas eve murder of a patron outside Central nightclub, Here Groove Lounge, must surely be a wake-up call to Metro officials to act against a club that has for too long flouted just about every Municipal by-law, operating way past the 2am deadline.

Consider, too, all those who arrived home after their vacations to find their homes burgled and vandalized. For one South End resident it was twice in one month that brazen criminals smashed their way in, and both times at midday.

A frightening holiday statistic will be to add the staggering road deaths to the murders, rapes, drownings, assaults, robberies and burglaries. This total is a staggering indictment of what should have been a joyful and peaceful time.

So was it really a great ending for 2005 and a festive start to 2006? For many, the horror, the pain and the suffering will have made it a time best forgotten.

Hopefully the victims will get the support and care they deserve. It is hoped that all the perpetrators will get what is due to them. The law must take its course and communities must band together to ensure that criminals are brought to book.

On a happier note, the Executive Committee of the Humewood CPF places on record its grateful thanks to Graham Vass, Morne Coetzer, and the management team of the Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment World, for hosting the 27 on-duty members of Humewood SAPS for Christmas lunch. It was a wonderful festive gesture that helps build morale and goodwill and thanks those police staff who cannot spend the special day with their loved ones.

Please keep that information coming. Your info is passed on to the relevant officers and it all helps in the war against crime. Send emails to and faxes to 088 041 581 7390.

Remember, if every victim of crime reported their incident to the nearest police station, our statistics will reflect the true crime situation in our area. This will help to get more staff and more vehicles into our under resourced police stations.

Crime tips for the week.
- Do not take valuables to the beach. When going for a swim, ask the person next to you to keep an eye on your towel and belongings.
- Access control is only as effective as all residents make it.
- Crime does not only happen to “other people”. It is affecting everyone. You might be next! Take precautions and be careful, 24/7/365.

Stanford Slabbert.
This column is also featured every week in the Algoa Sun Community Newspaper

This article comes from Port Elizabeth: MyPE

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