- Posted by: essay
- Category: Free essays
In the Republic of South Africa the world’s worst level of violent crime is fixed “with 52 people murdered every 24 hours, for an annual murder rate of 43 per 100,000 people. Added to that each year there are 200,000 robberies, 55,000 rapes, and half a million cases of assault and attempted murder.”(Lindow, 2008). This fact forces the government of the country to take strong measures to control and prevent the crime. Especially, it concerns Johannesburg, which is well-known as a “crime capital” of the South Africa Republic and the most violent city in the world, because it has the highest crime rates.
Historically, Johannesburg was a dusty settlement of gold prospectors. In 1886 Australian prospector George Harrison discovered gold reefs on the territory of Langlaagte. After these event people from North America, the United Kingdom and Europe began to flock into this settlement. According to this, the government of the country decided to build a town, which was named Johannesburg after its first architectures – Johann Rissik and Johann Joubert.
During XX century, especially after the World War II, between 1948 and 1994, the National Party government in South Africa enforced in Johannesburg the system of legal racial segregation that is called apartheid. First of all it meant that all black citizens were moved by force to the new townships “for black only”,
The removal was cruel. For example, the Sophiatown’s black inhabitants were forced out of their homes without any notification. The heavily armed police just pulled them and their belongings out from their houses, got to the tracks and conveyed to the new township called Soweto (South Western Townships). And instead of Sophiatown, which was destroyed, the government built a new white suburb named Triomf.
The apartheid system rules also forbade the black people, excepting the black contract workers, to live, work or set up shops in “white areas” of Johannesburg and even transport and hospitals were segregated. These rules were also applied to white inhabitants, who needed a special permit to enter the “black area”. The majority of black inhabitants couldn’t find a normal job. As a result of such management of the urban space, the disparities between wealthy and powerful white inhabitants and poverty-stricken black citizens began to grow. Such terrible living conditions displeased the discriminated residents of the city and they began to revolt.
In 1976 there was an incident of large-scale violence. The Soweto Students’ Representative Council held a mass-meeting against using of oppressors language called Afrikaans. The police actions were rather cruel. It began to fire at students. After this event the wave of protests and meetings swamped Johannesburg and over 1000 people were killed in fights with the apartheid system’s protectors.
In 1990’s the racial segregation was finally disaffirmed. In 1994, after the South Africa Republic had become a democracy country, Johannesburg’s black citizens, who had been discriminated during the apartheid system, finally got their liberty and possibility to settle in white areas of the city. But apartheid had already influenced the relationships between the white and black inhabitants of Johannesburg.
1990’s were the most terrible years in Johannesburg history. Since that time Johannesburg became a fearful place to live in. The amount of burglaries, muggings, robberies, assaults those days was so high that people were under the continuing pressure of fear for their lives and lives of their families.
According to the facts based on victims’ experiences, which were reported during the 1990’s years, the picture of crime in Johannesburg was awful.
The most common crime, which affected the local residents, was burglary. 24% of respondents reported about this crime (Louw, 7).
The most widespread kind of burglary was car theft. The majority of people, who drive a car in Johannesburg even nowadays, remember that leaving the car in the street is unsafe. In 1990’s “Drive faster, live longer” was a favorite slogan of the citizen, who were so afraid of strangers in the streets that didn’t even open the car windows and were always holding their feet on the gas driving in the town.
The current situation is better, though it is not as safe as drivers wanted.
Robberies and muggings (16,5%) and assaults (15,5%) took the second place after burglary. 84% of assaults were rather serious, with weapon using (Louw, 7). It is also important to know that only a few crime incidents were reported to the police, especially it concerned mugging. Because of this, the clear statistic of violent crime couldn’t be formed.