Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Enough is Enough

This is the slogan of a movement called the Million Man March, held in Tswane (formerly Pretoria ) yesterday. It is an anti crime initiative, led by comedian and actor Desmond Dube, who was inspired to arrange the event after a neighbour, Bashimane Mofokeng, was killed in a hijacking.

The idea is to mobilise citizens across the country to stand up and be counted, and make a statement to both the Government and the criminals (often one and the same...more about that later) that the people of South Africa have had enough!
Here is the mission statement of the MMM movement:

The Million Man March is an anti-crime initiative formed as a direct response to the unacceptable levels of crime in South Africa.
The March aims to:

  • Unite all South Africans against crime, crime can only be defeated if confronted with a collective will, a combined commitment and a united plan of action.The March endeavours to empower people who feel helpless, vulnerable and alone by giving them a specific time and place to join together with others, and provide them with a voice against that which they fear the most.
  • The March will call on the Government of the Republic of South Africa to act decisively on the crisis of crime in South Africa. Urgent attention needs to be given to combating crime, more resources need to be allocated to our police, with efficient mechanisms put in place to combat corruption.
  • Law abiding citizens have the constitutional right to have an efficient justice system to support them. We want to call on the people of South Africa to recognise that we are part of the solution. We call on each and every individual to take responsibility of his or her actions.
  • We aim to challenge the perceptions that our society have about crime and use this opportunity to engage government, business, religious groups and individuals that this is the platform to launch and extensive and aggressive MORAL REGENERATION PROGRAMME.
  • Remind one another that there is a lot to celebrate about our country and need to make sure that the negativity of crime does not take away from all the good that has been accomplished.
  • The integrity of the march is dependent on the peacefulness of its nature. It is scheduled and planned to take place within the boundaries of the law.
  • This march is for all citizens of South Africa who feel passionate about making a positive contribution towards the country, it will not be used as a platform to advance political or financial gain.

The march took place yesterday, and although the goal of a million marchers was not reached, a large number of people did participate, and it was a peaceful event. A memorandum was handed over to Minister Balfour, who received it on behalf of Government. ..... somewhat ironical, since this is the Minister of Correctional Services (the new euphamism for Prisons) who, in response to overcrowding in prisons, resorted to a special remission of sentences, whereby all offenders irrespective of their sentences or offences got 6 months off their sentences. This trivialized the sentences of the courts and was a slap in the face of victims of crime.

Placards saying "where is Mbeki" emphasised the weak leadership this Government has suffered under. From the start of his Presidency, Thabo Mbeki has been involving himself in international diplomacy, at the expense of his own country. Many are deeply outraged that our taxes are used to fund his little jaunts around the world in the Presidential jet, so that he can angle for International glory and a crack at the top spot in the UN, while back home, the country spirals out of control on many levels.

My advice to anyone who considers offering him any leadership post after his term is over would be... DON'T do it! His so called 'quiet diplomacy' in Zimbabwe basically translates into "Mugabe is my buddy so keep your hands off him and leave him to finish the plundering of his country in peace". Every important crisis here is met with "crisis, what crisis?" His silence over the recent spate of Xenophobic killings and attacks on foreigners is nothing short of criminal, weeks went by before he issued a lame statement, and not once did he bother to show his face at any of the hot spots or personally intervene to show how unacceptable it is.

However, I digress, sorry, at the moment the word Mbeki is a bit like a red rag to a bull, I am outraged by his silence on so many critical issues in his own country, and his total lack of concern over the suffering and deaths of people here. And I assure you this is not just me ranting about the ludicrous lack of leadership, check out these cartoons...

To me the statement at yesterday's rally that really hit home hard, and for which I want to applaud Desmond Dube wildly and loudly is the one he made to the effect that "crime is not just when someone holds a knife to you and threatens you. Crime is someone taking money from an institution and failing to provide services to that institution."

Yes Desmond, you hit the nail firmly on the head. We have become so conditioned to extreme levels of violent crime in this country, that we sometimes fail to even see day to day dishonesty and lack of integrity as crime any more, and the threshhold of what is acceptable keeps sliding further and further along the continuum from petty to extreme crime.

But every civil servant or Cabinet Minister who receives a salary at the end of each month, and fails to do the job for which they are being paid, is STEALING from the tax payers who employ them.

Well Done Desmond for highlighting this fact! I salute you for this initiative, for using your celebrity status to get the attention of the nation, and for giving so freely of your time and money to organise this initiative.

(Going back to the irony that it was Minister Balfour who was sent by Government to receive the anti-crime memorandum, it is Ngconde Balfour, the Minister of Correctional Services, who said that 738 members of his department had been suspended on full pay in the 2005/6 financial year, costing the taxpayer over R34-million!!!)

I hope the MMM initiative will continue to snowball, and that ordinary citzens who are tired of being victims of crime will stand together and clearly let the criminals inside and outside of Government know that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.


Old Wom Tigley said...

QUOTE: "I hope the MMM initiative will continue to snowball"

I hope it dose to Suki.. enough is enough says it all.. Just by reading your blog I can well understand the need...

I wish you and all you friends a crime free life.


Suzy said...

It doesn't seem to matter in what part of the world one lives. Those in power are drunk on their power, and the rest of us be damned. Mass protests may result in the equivalent of throwing the people a bone, but mostly it is business as usual. It is very discouraging.

Suzi-k said...

yes, we can just hope the message gets through to a Government who display complete denial when it comes to the seriousness of the crime situation. Easy for them with all their personal body guards and bullet proof cars. I must confess that I had a huge sense of delight when a robbery occurred at the State Presidents Residence recently, hehe
Nice to see you Suzy, how are you doing?

Neva said...

I hope it more than snowballs and flies through the air...what a great cause for Desmond to involve himself. I hope it works but it takes a little bit from everyone to get change happening....Love your writing.

Suzi-k said...

thanks Neva. You are right, no one person is going to turn this around, we all need to play a part.