Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Post-apartheid South Africa

Crime is out of control in post-apartheid South Africa:

Well over 1,200 Boer Afrikaners have been butchered in more than 6,000 attacks since Mbeki's democratically elected African National Congress (ANC) took power in 1994. Despite the threat of systematic extermination, farmers are forbidden automatic weapons. So they must battle their ubiquitous assailants with only a shotgun, a handgun and a limited number of rounds at their disposal.

In "free" South Africa there is an official blackout (or shall I say whiteout) of national crime statistics. When they are divulged, officials prefer to use difficult-to-understand ratios. In many instances, data have been doctored. Government sources claim there were 21,553 murders in 2002. The Mail & Guardian estimates that between January 2000 and March 2003 there were almost 48,000 murders in South Africa (population 44.6 million). In comparison, the "high crime" United States (population 288.2 million) suffered 16,110 murders in 2002.

And there are no shortages of affirmative action programs in South Africa either:

In South Africa, virtually all the poor people are black. It does not follow that all black South Africans are poor, but the South African government has for the past 10 years acted as if the two words were interchangeable. Any program whose stated aim is to uplift those who were crushed by apartheid is assumed, ipso facto, to be a good thing. This has culminated in something called "Black Economic Empowerment," a process whereby white-owned firms are encouraged to surrender large dollops of equity to black businessmen. This is "voluntary," but firms that stay white cannot win government contracts, and many assume that if they do not yield now, they will end up being nationalized, Mugabe-style, in a decade or two.

Things have gotten so bad in South Africa that people are starting to emigrate:

Thousands of skilled young South Africans are continuing to emigrate in search of a better life, draining the country of much-needed economic resources.

Up to 100,000 people are believed to have left South Africa over the last three years, and 70% of skilled South Africans still in the country say they are considering emigrating, despite government calls for them to stay and help their country.

Most give fear of crime as the reason behind their decision to go, but the Aids epidemic and unemployment are also cited in a recent study carried out by the University of South Africa (Unisa).

South Africa is only one of the many countries in Africa affected by brain drain, which has deprived the continent of a third of its skilled professionals in recent decades, strangling growth.

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