Leanne, the super, efficient, secretary in our office, is emigrating to Australia. She won’t even go to the Waterfront, the glitzy mall at the harbour in Cape Town, which has been the scene of some high-profile bombs, particularly the “Planet Hollywood” bomb last year.
At a champagne breakfast to mark the passing of the years at Kirstenbosch Park, a nature reserve nestled against Table Mountain, I met a doctor - currently studying in Cape Town, due for a year “out there” in South Africa (a requirement of graduation) - she is determined to go abroad.
Travel broadens the mind - for sure. However, what most people here are looking for is an option, at least, to move permanently out of the country. The reason given is the level of crime here.
The statistics are high.
There are different “types” of crime also. Last week Mr Nkabinde, a “warlord” expelled unceremoniously from the ANC last year and who then joined a new political party the United Democratic Movement - not because of a change of heart but because of his warlord status. The UDM wanted him because they desperately needed to demonstrate appeal across racial lines. If any party is to have a hope of winning an election from the ANC they must garner a large black vote.
Where were we ? Yes - Mr Nkabinde was gunned down outside the supermarket in Richmond - no doubt by ANC sympathisers. Or maybe IFP sympathisers - there is a deadly three-way struggle for power on the fringes of Zululand in the run-up to the election here in May or June. In retaliation, an ANC family was gunned down over the weekend - 11 killed. The police are not trusted - they are ANC after all.
So - there is the black-on-black crime, political or taxi violence, turf wars in the people-moving business.
Then there is the disaffected soldier - black mostly, but not exclusively. Shocking stories of military precision raids on the highways, emptying machine gun magazines into trucks carrying money, blowing the back open, and carting off millions of Rand in vehicles parked on the bridge over said highway.
Happens a lot.
Banks in Johannesburg are regularly held up for money.
Jobs for all will solve these problems, but that is equally hard.
Is this really necessary? I think your armchair travellers need an explanation of what may come their way soon. http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/africa/9812/11/flame.thrower.car/
All cars now have immobilisers, but that simply means that the hijacker gets you at the traffic lights ..
What annoys me is the constant broken glass in Cape Town, a reminder that a car unattended will have a side window broken, and the radio stolen. Petty theft, requiring continual maintenance.
All that said, because it is all people hear about South Africa.
Personally, I have had nothing stolen, I have been threatened with a penknife, and I just shouted. I walk through town every morning, I walk a different route back in the evening that avoids the centre of town. I have no radio, or glass, on my old motorcycle.