Friday, February 09, 2007

South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki has promised to increase the size of the police force to tackle the country's high crime rate

BBC News:

The murder rate is falling, according to official figures but there are still more than 18,000 murders each year - one of the highest rates in the world.

Last month's killing of world-renowned historian David Rattray drew international attention to the issue.

Some members of the country's business community have become increasingly anxious about the impact on investor confidence.

Opposition parties accuse the president of being in denial about the problem.

Mr Mbeki recently said he did not think crime was out of control.

Some officials from Mr Mbeki's ruling African National Congress feel that it is the white community which is more concerned about crime, while poverty is the most pressing issue for the black majority.

South Africa is enjoying record rates of economic growth but many ordinary South Africans say they are yet to feel the benefits.

Political analyst, and the president's brother, Moeletsi Mbeki, says the two issues of poverty and crime are linked.

"I think the government is under a lot of pressure over crime from everybody in South Africa, " he told the BBC.

"The level of crime is totally unacceptable.

"Unemployment has risen over the past 15 - 20 years, so South Africans are getting poorer and the other reason is we're getting more inequality in South Africa."

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