Sunday, November 23, 2008

Emigrating families' last taste of SA

I squeezed this post in between the 'chicken run' and the "flocking home" stories deliberately. Lest anyone be too hard on people leaving SA, I say let those that choose the hard route out get on with it and wish them bon voyage.

How ironic that a going-away party for these two families departing SA for good turns into the very reason why they are leaving SA.

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A party to send off two Durban families emigrating to escape crime in South Africa turned sour when 20 people were robbed at gunpoint by robbers posing as car guards.

As news of the La Lucia Ridge robbery spread yesterday, residents vowed to defy municipal by-laws and erect boom gates. "People could have been shot. We were just lucky," said Nick Gahagan, owner of the house where the robbery took place on Friday night.

At least 40 South African homes are invaded by armed robbers every day, according to police statistics. Analysts fear an increase in the incidence of such crime during the Christmas holidays. The Durban North community policing forum has asked residents to be more cautious because of the perception that there is a lot of money "lying around" during this time.

Ironically, the party had been thrown to bid farewell to a businessman who is emigrating to New York to expand his business "away from the crime", and another guest, who is also fed up with crime in South Africa and is packing his bags for Australia.

Guests also condemned the police's late response, saying that whereas a private security company arrived within 15 minutes, the police took an hour and a half.

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