Who’s to blame for our crime problem?

byafrika

Crime Stats SA (www.crimestatssa.com) reports that nearly 16000 people were killed in South Africa in the twelve months between 2011/2012. The same website shows that the world average for murder is 7.6 per 100 000 people and SA’s average is five times higher at 36.5 per 100 000 people. The Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa, recently released the latest crime statistics which show that as a country we are not getting a handle on crime.

Crime is a very emotive issue because almost all of us have been victims of it. This year alone the church I pastor has had five incidences of crime and I understand that the over 5 000 crimes are reported to the SAPS every day. Can you imagine how many go unreported because of disillusionment and lack of confidence in the police? We have not reported four of the crimes we have suffered because of the tardiness of our local police.

As a country we have the dishonour of being the most dangerous place for women and children. Our rape statistics and the sadistic nature of sexual crimes make me ashamed of being a male. Lately I have caught myself wondering into the zone of fear when I consider the safety of my 18 month old daughter. I have to keep reminding myself that beyond the alarm and security gates in my home, God is the ultimate barrier.

Way we treat children
I have to believe this or choose to live a life of paranoia as some South Africans seem to do. Former President Nelson Mandela once said, “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” What does the way children are treated in SA say about us? On their website, the Medical Research Council (MRC) reports that a child is raped in South Africa every three minutes.

Many people pontificate about the causes of our moral decline and others even suggest that the current government is solely responsible for where we find ourselves right now. Is this true or are people just being simplistic? I have even heard people putting a racial slant to our crime wave and suggesting that white people are being deliberately targeted for genocide. Then there are issues of racial profiling where certain racial groups are seen to have a propensity for crime.

For me such positions distract us from the real issues. Blaming the current government for all our social ills is escapism. For instance, how do we expect the government to police something like the sexual exploitation of children, which is often perperated by close male relatives? Or white-collar crimes and those that are performed in relationships of trust?

We are a heavily policed society with almost double the number of police than we had before the advent of democracy and a far higher budget allocation. Private security companies employ more than double the number of police officers and yet crime is not ceasing. Are there other factors responsible for crime in SA other than socio-economic conditions?

Adverse social conditions and disparities are definitely responsible for some of the crime. For instance, there are more people killed in Nyanga in the Western Cape than anywhere else in the country. The demographic profile of this township is that 99% of its population is black and over 50% is unemployed.

Spiritual causes
However, I do believe that there are spiritual causes to our declining moral standards. As a nation we have turned away from God and for that we are paying dearly. When I say the nation I also include the Church. I believe much of the Church in my country is backslidden and instead of fervour and faith we have facts and rationalism.

Some people have become armchair theologians who spend their time castigating others while doing nothing to deal with the problems bedevilling our country. We need to check who or what governs our hearts before we agitate for a change in civil government. It is said that people get the leaders they deserve and so a corrupt people will get a corrupt government. A people who lack compassion or commitment to God’s ways will also get a government who is likewise.

I believe when we fully turn to God we will see things turn around in this country. I don’t mean a whimsical once-a-year prayer we do for the nation but a constant heartfelt dedication to the Almighty. God must deliver His Church from indifference, prejudice, and apathy and then the nation.

12 Comments

  1. So true Afrika.

    • Thanks Hennie. Indeed Henk it starts with us. Mahatma Gandhi once said ‘be the change you want to see in the world.’ If God is going to do something, He is going to use us but are we usable?

  2. This is exactly what I said to a work friend of mine yesterday. And the change start with us!

  3. Excellent article Ps Afrika ! Totally agree.
    I am convinced that the ONLY way to start to turn this around is to petition Almighty God with identificational repentence and travailing intercession – serious, ongoing, prevailing prayer. When last did we WEEP for RSA ? 2 Chron 7:14 still and always will apply. – In a way its up to us, as those who profess to be His disciples and children – we need to put feet to our faith and it starts with pray led by the Holy Spirit.Our God is an “if … then”: IF we will seek His face in repentance, THEN He will God hear from heaven and intervene. Are we willing to do our part ?? If there is any leader who will stand up and call for weekly, fervent intercession for the nation, count me in !! God bless you more and more in your sterling leadership and work for the Kingdom !

  4. Apologies for typing errors in the above : my fingers flew faster and I didn’t do a check before posting …

    • Prayer is the answer Barbara, you are right. Not just any prayer but fervent prayer that moves the hand of God.
      After prayer we must be ready that God may use us as the answer to our prayer. We might be the ones He sends. Our prayer must therefore be accompanied with humility to the Almighty ready to do anything He asks.
      Bless you

      • Thank you for your reply Afrika – I totally agree and am standing by to cry out to God for this nation – but also to become practically active in whatever He leads me to! His love for me makes me respond in love for Him which sparks and nurtures faith and out of that flow the actions (works). It all has to emanate from love and be life affirming – otherwise it’s useless … “If I have not love …” – He is sooo wothy and His love is for people and so should ours be : doing as we see the Father do; being His hands and feet.
        God bless you richly – I heard you speak once at a convention and I heard your heart – was deeply touched and motivated by you, man of God !

  5. While agreeing with what Afrika said I want to add a ‘klip in die bos’ regarding our police and justice system. When a police commissioner employs a sangoma to investigate a break-in at his office; when literacy classes have to be held for thousands of our “cops” because they are “functionally illiterate”; when we read weekly of policemen settling their “domestic squabbles” with their firearm; when literally hundreds of cops country wide are being convicted of corruption, drug-dealing, rape etc every month we need to acknowledge a serious problem. But part of the solution lies with us – if we all started “adopting” our local cops, praying for them, encouraging and supporting them but also praying out the “rotten apples” – perhaps we would see a change? And “prayer walking” our streets dealing with “roots of iniquity”? I’d appreciate feedback. Blessings. Sandy (Jama)

    • You might be Sandy, but there’s nothing “sinking” about you:) and your efforts deserve feedback! Sadly, I have accumulative comments longer than the original article on my heart, but that should also not be surprising – and certainly not limited to me alone – considering the gravity of the SA crime situation. I love your practical take on tackling the problem, and I fully appreciate that you’re responding obo the Church/Christians in SA, but humbly so. I will restrict this 1st response to 1) “I am a spirit, I have a soul, I live in a body” – which implies that I can potentially cause problems, and would then need to be engaged with, on those three levels; 2) we are dealing with a multi-faceted crisis – both in cause and result – which requires a multiform strategy along e.g. spiritual, social, political, relational, etc. lines. Unfortunately, there is no ‘One Size Fits All’ solution available, bar divine intervention in the form of extreme, ongoing, trail-blazing Spiritual Revival in the Land! (though even the latter would necessarily include “unspiritual” acts such as Arresting, Prosecuting, Jailing, Firing and Replacing the ‘rotten apples’, for example)

      • Hi Sandy. I agree with Vernon that we will a multi-pronged approach in dealing with this issue. Prayer is the departing point and a move of God like in the book of Acts can cause accelerated change.
        The use of sangomas, violence to settle disputes is a symptom of a people alienated from God. Their actions reveal the overaching worldview governing their lives. Without a biblical worldview we cannot expect biblical or Spirit-inspired actions. The financial corruption we see is as a result of spiritual corruption

  6. Rev Ian Karshagen

    Well said Afrika! Like it or not, Jesus Is the Answer!

    • Yes Rev Ian, there is no other way but Jesus. He is the only way (John 14:6). By the way my son speaks about you a lot. You made quite an impression on me. Blessings