Columns 24.4.2015 06:00 am

Bad ‘damage control’

I have something to add to the debate on South Africa’s state of affairs at the moment.

Police are “taking back the streets”, National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega said, amid a raid in Jeppestown, downtown Johannesburg, following the recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

And like a scene fit for the new Avengers flick, police swooped in, supported by the South African National Defence Force.

This movie, however, would have fitted well in the 80s.

What do we do in South Africa when there is a national crisis, accompanied by violence? We police, and we police hard.

When Mozambican national Emmanuel Sithole was pictured by photo journalists last week, being stabbed repeatedly in Alexandra, Johannesburg, government announced it would send in the military to conduct raids in various xenophobia hotspots, including Durban.

Event though it previously denied the army was needed to help quell the volatile situation.

Government does not look at the bigger picture when it comes to such occurrences, leaving South Africa in a state of crying shame. And it has stopped listening too.

Experts this week revealed those governing this nation had been warned of xenophobic attacks since 2005, through research conducted by academics, but they turned a deaf ear, as they did when warned about Eskom’s impending load shedding.

As such, it is becoming increasingly difficult to remain patriotic in this society.

A fellow journalist wrote a column last week that she had become a foreigner in her own land when called an “Indian dog” and threatened with death before being chased out of the KwaMashu township in Durban.

In a display of intolerance, during a so-called “peace imbizo”, South Africans gathered at the event booed when Hindu and Jewish priests recited prayers.

With the country in this social state of calamity, one must ask, how do you “police” the mindset of citizens to promote a better society? We must start taking things seriously and educate people on the history of this country and the value of understanding.

To quote a song by Joan Baez on the late Steve Biko: “The eyes, oh the eyes of the world are watching you”.

 

04

today in print