ALLOW ME to react to Joseph Rwagatare’s article, “Rwanda-South Africa row: sign that SA has wasted its leadership potential” (The New Times, March 11).
If the topic wasn’t so serious, Pretoria’s attempts to scapegoat Rwanda for the consequences of South Africa’s runaway violent crime would be so hilarious. Around 50 people are murdered in South Africa each day!
Over the recent years, several prominent people, including high-profile personalities, such as Lucky Dube, senior diplomats and executives of foreign multinationals have fallen victims to South Africa’s out-of-control violent crime.
A few examples illustrate this generalised crime environment that Pretoria has miserably failed to tackle.
In 2007, heavily armed men raided the home of the Tanzanian High Commissioner, Emmanuel Mwambulukutu, as he was entertaining guests at his farewell party. They beat him into unconsciousness.
He and six other people, including his wife, had to be hospitalised. It wasn’t all – the thugs threatened to rape the women, including the High Commissioner’s daughter.
One should not forget other high profile victims: Vietnamese diplomat was shot and wounded at his Pretoria home, and South Africa’s own UN ambassador got robbed at gunpoint at his son’s Pretoria home…the list is long, but Zimbabwean diplomats are probably the ones who have paid an especially heavy price.
Just to give the full name of the unlucky Zimbabwean head of high commission’s security in Pretoria gunned down by a member of the South African Police last October - Lucky Hakueri.
Even the victim’s functions demonstrates the belief of governments that send their diplomats to South Africa that they need to provide them with special security arrangements to take into account the country’s generalised lawlessness and the apparent inability of the regime to provide the minimum security that host countries are required to give to their diplomatic guests.
I imagine the Zimbabwean Government must have created this post after the first killing of their diplomat, and no doubt many other violent crimes against diplomats of various countries in South Africa.
What an irony that their head of high commission security would end up dead at the hands of a member of South African “security” forces.
Another angle worth considering in such conditions of general lawlessness is whether in fact members of the security services may themselves not be involved in many of the incidents.
But it is clearly much easier for the South African Government to turn a blind eye to its Herculean insecurity problem by attempting to shift blame for any incident to external scapegoats.
In reality, anyone looking for security and safety in South Africa needs their head examined – it is a lawless territory that will only get worse as the majority black South Africans (whose average incomes are barely a tenth of that of their white compatriots) realise that the ANC promise of better social and economic conditions for them is nothing but a pipedream.
That beyond the Black Economic Empowerment elite, their own future will be no better than it was under Apartheid almost 20 years ago.
EDITOR’S NOTE: South African government last week expelled three Rwandan diplomats after an alleged attack on the residence of a Rwandan fugitive there – wanted by Rwanda in connection with terrorist activities, including grenade attacks – prompting Kigali to reciprocate by expelling six South African diplomats.