Gravity of crime still eludes Mbeki

While political parties and individuals alike welcomed President Thabo Mbeki's plan to fight crime, it is quite clear that he was simply reacting to public pressure in his state of the nation speech. His words will remain empty until the government takes real action.

While political parties and individuals alike welcomed President Thabo Mbeki's plan to fight crime, it is quite clear that he was simply reacting to public pressure in his state of the nation speech. His words will remain empty until the government takes real action.

It was clear from Mbeki's handling of the issue that the gravity of the problem still eludes him and the ANC government.

The majority of South Africans remain deeply concerned about crime, yet Mbeki chose to handle it by providing us with, to quote DA leader Tony Leon, a bureaucratic list of things to be done. What is needed is a fervent commitment to fight crime, rather than a dispassionate nod in the direction of those who are trying to get the ANC to take note of it.

Crime can no longer be tolerated. It must be fought with every mechanism at our disposal. Crime is not about statistics, it is about people. Maybe if the president had made time to meet the family of Thato Radebe, the girl who was brutally murdered in Soweto, or any of the other thousands of victims and families who were raped, murdered and robbed, he would understand.

Crime causes real pain, real loss and real suffering. It is not a problem to be dealt with at government's leisure.

Elson Xaba, Ekurhuleni

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