The African National Congress is starting its “dispute resolution process” in a bid to address the a.
Elsewhere in this paper today, Sowetan's 1,5 million readers will have been shocked by the picture and news report on the gruesome murder of a Soweto schoolgirl.
She was raped and killed by criminals who left empty liquor bottles and used condoms on the murder scene.
Increasingly, criminals are displaying a disturbing propensity to kill their victims soon after robbing them, for fear of being identified later and sent to jail.
Against the backdrop of increasing public despair over crime, this pattern is raising a terrifying spectre for ordinary South Africans who have to face up to the grim reality that criminals are no longer content with spiriting off with their possessions only.
They now kill their victims with alarming frequency.
That said, we would have thought galvanising national efforts against the scourge of crime would be the most sensible thing to do.
Not so, it seems, for a government that has not only increasingly become ultra-sensitive to criticism about its handling of crime but clearly perceives national outrage over the scourge as contrived - if not a political manoeuvre.
Or how else should the nation interpret the government's bullying of First National Bank to abandon a bold anti-crime campaign to persuade President Thabo Mbeki to prioritise the combating of crime as a matter of urgency?
For anyone to suggest that such an initiative was an inappropriate "incitement" against Mbeki, as does government spokesman Themba Maseko, is disingenuous - if not a clear example of extreme paranoia.
But the real danger stemming from this unsavoury episode lies in the government's move to manipulate national discourse on the topic.
It also lies in its trying to muzzle individuals and institutions from expressing a view on the subject.
Any government that passionately maintains it is on top of crime, as the ruling party evidently does, must be confident enough to defend its view openly without tramp-ling on the right of the public and corporate citizens to express their dissension.
Besides, since when has it become treasonous to mobilise compatriots against a scourge that continually gnaws at our social fabric?