Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Nuanced debate about crime required after Canada’s asylum to Huntley

By Kallie Kriel (Richmark Sentinel)


In an incident in Pretoria, house robbers said upon discovering that their victims were black, that they would not hurt the victims and that they had erroneously thought the residents of house to be whites.

“... whether Brandon Huntley is an opportunist or not, we cannot allow ourselves to remain silent out of political correctness about the fact that the Malemas in our society have made it possible for Huntley to present his case successfully in Canada. Rather than to treat the Huntley case as immaterial, it should be utilised as an opportunity to work towards a country where all will feel safe.”

The Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board’s decision to grant asylum to a white South African, Brandon Huntley – who alleges that he is under threat in South Africa because of the colour of his skin – has elicited predictable reaction in South Africa from the side of the various extremities of our society. At the one end, the ANC denies vehemently that race plays any role in crimes committed against whites, and the Canadian ruling is being brushed aside as being “racist”.

To make matters worse, the ANC’s Deputy Secretary General, Ms Thandi Modise, has commented with reference to the Huntley case in an interview with the international media that in her experience, racial attacks happen the other way around, in other words with whites attacking blacks. At the other end, there are those who regard the Canadian decision as confirmation of the perception that race almost without exception plays a role in crime.

The result of these kinds of one-sided viewpoints, is that it leaves little room for an honest analysis of the motives behind crime in South Africa. Any person or researcher who dares to do an honest study of crime and to offer a nuanced perspective which is not in line with the current agenda of Government, obviously faces the danger of being accused of racism, or the one or other evil. Such an honest analysis however is essential, otherwise constructive solutions cannot be found for the crime crisis.

The fact that all races suffer as a result of crime, is a given. However, to use this reality in order to try proving that race plays no role in crime, would be a gross generalisation, which does not recognise the fact that there are various causes and motives for crime, and that crime takes place under widely diverse circumstances.
The following illustrates some of the numerous causes and motives of crime: poor blacks in townships are victims of crime because, amongst other reasons, their circumstances make them very vulnerable in relation to criminal elements. The perception that people living in the suburbs are “rich”, is one of the reasons why residents of middle-class suburbs are targeted by criminals.

The abovementioned causes and motives does not by any means signify that there are not many cases where racial considerations plays a role in crime though. Numerous examples can be cited of incidents where criminals had made racist and malicious statements to their victims and where excessive violence had been used against the victims.
In an incident in Pretoria, house robbers said upon discovering that their victims were black, that they would not hurt the victims and that they had erroneously thought the residents of house to be whites.

The excessive violence with which some victims of crime are tortured, by for example burning them with scalding water or irons, definitely cannot be ascribed to ordinary criminality. Racist attitudes does not end with crime itself either. It is being exacerbated by incidents where members of the police and judges make racist statements and abuse their power. This results in people feeling increasingly helpless and vulnerable.

If a nuanced approach were to be used to determine the causes of crime, solutions can be implemented. Steps can be taken to protect both the vulnerable black residents of townships, as well as the residents of suburbs, by inter alia ensuring a larger police presence at crime focal points, and by removing criminal elements effectively from society.

These efforts however will also have to include steps to prevent racially-driven crime. A good starting point would be for Government to show less tolerance towards the racial rhetoric of prominent figures such as Julius Malema, Butana Komphela, Leonard Chuene, Judge John Hlophe and Judge Nkola Motata.

A ray of hope is the fact that the majority of South Africans would like to coexist peacefully. This ideal can only be achieved if good people are prepared to tackle the crime problem in all of its variations openly.

AfriForum does not know Brandon Huntley personally and cannot vouch for the accuracy of all his allegations. AfriForum therefore also does not support his personal case. However, whether Huntley is an opportunist or not, we cannot allow ourselves to remain silent out of political correctness about the fact that the Malemas in our society have made it possible for Huntley to present his case successfully in Canada.

Rather than to treat the Huntley case as immaterial, it should be utilised as an opportunity to work towards a country where all will feel safe. AfriForum is therefore commissioning a scientific study on the various motives for crime in the country. This study can inter alia be submitted to the Canadian court in the Huntley case, to ensure that a nuanced viewpoint will be heard, and not only the ANC’s or Huntley’s respective takes on crime in South Africa.

0 Opinion(s):