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  South African minister tells crime victims to "stop whingeing" about rape and m
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Author Topic: South African minister tells crime victims to "stop whingeing" about rape and m  (Read 666 times)
Olin D. Johnston
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« on: June 26, 2006, 07:19:05 pm »


Rory Carroll in Johannesburg
Wednesday June 21, 2006
The Guardian

Crime victims staged an angry protest in South Africa yesterday after a government minister suggested those who "whinged" about levels of murder and rape should emigrate.

Demonstrators, who said the 51 murders and 151 rapes recorded daily were unacceptably high, were responding to the safety and security minister, Charles Nqakula, who told parliament this month that those who complained about crime were unpatriotic moaners.

"They can continue to whinge until they're blue in the face, be as negative as they want to, or they can simply leave this country so that all of the peace-loving South Africans, good South African people who want to make this a successful country, can continue with their work." (So if all the rape victims would just leave, only "peace-loving" South Africans would remain? )

The comments provoked outrage from relatives of murder victims and survivors of assaults, who filled the media with tales of violence and incompetent policing. "Where, honourable minister, do you propose I go?" asked a letter writer to a newspaper, saying she had been raped and mugged and was now paralysed by fear.

Yesterday's protest was held outside a court where nine men were on trial charged with bludgeoning a 78-year-old woman to death in her home and raping her 25-year-old pregnant neighbour. The attacks, which happened last month at Gordon's Bay, a beauty spot in the Western Cape, followed a series of high-profile incidents, including the killing of a judge's granddaughter and the rape of her nanny.

Dozens of people held placards urging the minister to apologise for his remarks. Fanie le Roux, a relative of the murdered pensioner, said he had not been placated by Mr Nqakula's explanation that the whingeing reference was directed at opposition members of parliament and not South Africans in general.

International comparisons are difficult but there is no doubt South Africa is one of the world's most violent countries. A United Nations survey suggested it had the third highest murder rate, after Colombia and Swaziland.

Experts blame poverty, unemployment, overstretched police, and the legacy of white minority rule (Which "experts" would they be?), which damaged the social structure of the black majority. The government says South Africa is becoming safer and cites official statistics that the murder rate has fallen from more than 20,000 a year to 18,615. Critics say the figures are unreliable.

There have been calls for South Africa to reinstate the death penalty, which was abolished with apartheid.
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