South Africa: When a condition of abnormality becomes a normality.

South Africa, arguably the most beautiful country in Africa, has not been making news globally recently due to its beautiful, breathtaking and panoramic views of the countryside and seductive beaches; instead, soaring violent crimes have become synonymous with the southern African country recently, with murder rate skyrocketing at fearful a 20-year high. It is a record no serious government – and tourists - would ignore.

For the ANC government in power, the crime rate in the country can hardly be overlooked in the face of constant murder, violent robbery and other crimes, which has exposed the vulnerability of the citizens. Crime has become a key campaign issue with the general election scheduled for this year. It does not help that the country is not only battling with a high rate of crime but other social malaises such as unemployment, poverty and corruption, which President Ramaphosa vowed to battle during his election campaign, are still proving stubbornly difficult to address. With the upcoming election, which many believe to be the most competitive since the country dismantled apartheid in 1994 and brought the ANC to power, President Cyril Ramaphosa needs no one to remind him of his uphill tasks. The President's nemesis seems to be compounded by the political rise of firebrand opposition leader Julius Malema, who has re-branded his Economic Freedom Fighters party to become a formidable opposition one can hardly ignore.

Despite the robust opposition to his government and the numerous challenges the country is facing, President Ramaphosa has always confidently assured South Africans that he is capable of addressing the social ills. But he seems to be running against the tide. He has yet to prove to critics that he can decisively address the crime problems.

Nor is that confidence limited to President Ramaphosa. The hoodlums have shown they can equally act with confidence, impunity and fearlessness. The recent cash-in-transit hijacks, known simply as CIT, have demonstrated the level of lawlessness in South Africa and the near-helplessness of law enforcement to tackle the crimes.

The broad day attack on the security vans carrying money, which saw the roads closed and guarded by the heavily armed criminals who used bombs to blow open safes, shows the level of sophistication and audacity of the criminals, who now act as a well-organised terrorist group. That confidence amongst the men of the underworld underscores President Ramaphosa's assurances that his government is on top of the insecurity problems.

"It's been very military organised, well executed, and if you see the way that they plan these robberies, it's very difficult for our teams to stop that." Wahl Bartmann, head of security firm ADT Fidelity, lamented.

Like in Nigeria and other crime-infected countries, what makes the recent waves of crime in South Africa so alarming is the normalcy it has become. It is not uncommon that gangs and hoodlums are busy terrorising citizens on one side of the street with their explosives and rove about with automatic weapons while an average South African goes on with their daily businesses on the other side of the street. In most cases, motorway traffic continues undisrupted on the other side of the road while onlookers sometimes film the gang's primetime infamous violent crime in a Hollywood movie-like manner. It goes a long way in showing how much many South Africans have sadly accepted the present crime infestation as part of the country's social reality, which they have to live with. It is this new social order that seriously needs the attention of the ANC government and all patriotic South Africans to quickly address before it turns the beautiful country, the jewel of Africa, into a monster.


 It becomes worrisome when a condition of abnormality becomes a normality.