It came as a blow when we learned about the botched hijacking in Johannesburg of R&B singer Chad Saaiman yesterday. This is sadly a common occurrence in Gauteng where about 50% of South Africa’s crime takes place . Still, knowing it happened to a soulful singer, who moved from Cape Town, to seek fame and fortune in Joburg, is sad indeed. He is one of the few South African artists whose style and music appeals to a broad cross section of society. It is quite ironic that this should happen to Chad, who moved to a new city for better prospects, only to have his dreams almost shattered by this crime.
Everyone in South Africa is sick and tired of the high levels of crime in our country. It affects all of us directly or indirectly in some way. Thousands of people from all backgrounds live in fear of their safety on a daily basis. One wonders what other effects does this out of control crime has on our national psyche and progress as a developing country. Crime prevention groups from poor and rich backgrounds work together with the police to curb crime and yet results are slow. Community policing forums have gone a long way to help boost the crime fighting. We commend ordinary heroes who help to bring crime down on a daily basis, as demonstrated statistically on the SAPS website where crime has decreased from the 2009 to the 2010 period.
However, car-jackings continue being the highest level in the city of Johannesburg, compared to major cities across the country. Although car-jacking reports went down from 2009, this number is still high. This is worrisome, as Johannesburg is the economic centre of South Africa. Car-jacking occurs the most in the Gauteng province, with 53% of all car-jackings during the April 2009 to March 2010, followed by KZN with 27% and with the Western Cape as the fifth most at 0.4%. In Johannesburg central, car-jacking is at 127 during 2009-2010 and at 10 in Cape Town central during the same period. There are even truck hi-jackings in Johannesburg but none in Cape Town over the past 7 years. Both cities have a high level of poverty, so I assume it is the culture of bling in Johannesburg and the need for status that is spurring young men to commit these heinous crimes.
Something really needs to be done to curb the level of car-jackings in an internationally recognised city such as Johannesburg. This event might deter future international investors from our entertainment industry. Artists such as Beyonce exposed our dance culture on an international level, by using pantsula moves and South African dancers on her latest music video. It is a concept new and fresh to the international music community. We hope that this incident won’t deter artists such as Beyonce from collaborating with local artists like Chad Saaiman.
Additional reporting by Domelia Kiewiet.