Mob Violence in South Africa

mobs fighting the police

What kind of country do you want?

Mob justice has become a common solution to outrage in South Africa. Included in that solution is violence.

I remember one day I had just left work and I had walked to the bus station. There was a big commotion as I arrived and I noticed a man running past me and a few seconds later another man came after him throwing a brick. Apparently he had been caught stealing. It was clear from the mood of the crowd that many wanted more than just the thief’s apprehension.

For another example I refer to an article I read today on the web. The article is named ‘Cops save 3 men from mob’.  The article mentioned how police had to intervene after three men were nearly killed by a mob, because they were suspected of breaking into and stealing from shacks. One of the worst things is that the men were not even proven to be guilty at the time, and yet the residents were quick to attack them.

More recently there have been a large amount of violent strikes in the country over wage disputes. In one case there was a clash between miners and police at the Marikana mine. Miners were shot dead. Apparently they had been brandishing weapons and rushing the police.

In other cases strikers have blocked main roads causing major upheaval to the economic sector.

The problem here is that these people no longer believe in resolving their arguments with logic and reason, but instead with violence. Is that the kind of country they want? Where for the right thing to be done, acts of barbarism are acceptable?

Is violence the answer to every problem?

Image Credit: Jordogbeton, via Wikimedia Commons


The Earth is a Gift We Abuse


I am aware that not everyone in the world is religious. But have you ever thought about the air that you breathe, the people you know and love, etc? They all form part of the environment. We don’t pay for these things. Are they not then more like gifts?

I know that for some people, the prevailing attitude towards the environment (and all that it consists of), is like an unwanted gift. It’s is the place that we live in. Not exclusively like our houses; our homes. But it’s something that we share with everyone. And yet there are those who negligently toss their papers out of car windows. People who are insensitive to all the pollution in the air. For these people, it’s like ‘we just happen to live here, we aren’t responsible for the rest of the environment’.

They are the kind of people who clearly do not think of the consequences of their actions. They do not think of the inconvenience they are causing random strangers. Don’t we have the right to respect, in all its forms? Anyone who lives with other people in one house understands that we all have to do our part. We all have to keep our living space clean. In some cases we take pride in our homes. Should we not take pride in our environment?

Ever thought about it from the spiritual angle? Have you ever wondered where this lovely world of ours came from? God gave man dominion over the world. Anyone can see that man is the top of the food chain. We have the intelligence if not the strength, speed or physical adaptability of wild animals. If you gave your child a gift that you knew was fragile, you would advise your child to treat the gift with care, wouldn’t you? The environment is a gift to us.

People don’t truly appreciate their animals. I know there are those who are responsible when it comes to this. If so, be assured I am not directing this at you. People complain about stray animals. Not too long ago,  a child was killed by a pack of stray dogs. The community responded with outrage and wanted dogs put down because of this naturally. But that’s only a short-term solution. There will always be strays if people do not keep more control over their animals. Dogs that are allowed to run free for many hours will naturally result in more puppies being born. If you don’t want to deal with strays anymore, do your part in making sure there aren’t any more in the future.

These are just a few examples of what I mean. The world is our gift. It is ours to use as we see fit. But if we do not want to see it get out of control, let us take more care in how we treat it.

Image credit: edwin.11, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Does the taxi association believe in humanity?

We all know that money is an important factor in our lives. It’s important for our survival in this world. We have so many demanding factors in our lives that make us depend on money. But sometimes, I believe there are some who place profit above everything else, most importantly, above human dignity and respect.

The ones that have caught my attention these days are not unknown to the general public, at least here in South Africa. They are the drivers of the taxi association.

I know that I do not have all of the facts surrounding the circumstances in which these drivers find themselves. What I do know, is that some of them behave virtually like criminals, supposedly forced by their circumstances to earn money in the quickest ways.

Now the taxi association falls under public transport. But I think they defeat the purpose of public transport. Their job is to serve the public. I think that instead they are serving themselves.

Taxi drivers do not adhere to a schedule that I could determine. The only thing that they seem concerned with is how many passengers they can serve. So when one is the first one to board a taxi, it is possible that one may find oneself waiting for an undetermined amount of time until the taxi driver is satisfied with the amount of passengers on board.

So, yes it is wonderful that there are so many taxis on the road to get us to work and wherever else. But what good is it if because of these taxis we sometimes may not get to work on time, we may not be able to make our appointments, we may not be able to fulfil promises we have made?

Over the years, I have seen just how despicable the taxi association can be over the issue of profit. It seems they do not believe in fair competition. They believe in demands and intimidation. A few years ago, I found out that the Jammie Shuttle service which runs for students of the University of Cape Town, had to suspend services in certain areas because the taxi services threatened violence because they believed that the Jammie Shuttle service was stealing their profit. The flaw in their argument is this: students of UCT pay a lot of money to study at said institution. They have the right to choose how they get to campus, and if they can save money, good for them! I believe the taxi services really do not care about the wants or needs of the consumer.

I believe roads would be much safer, and more peaceful, without taxis. It would be a perfect world if there were more buses for people to use. At least buses adhere to schedules and generally they drive safely. Yes, there have been accidents involving buses, but in recent years accidents involving taxis have become more prominent.

For now, that is all I have time to say on taxi drivers in general. One thing I would like to add, that we find ways to avoid the use of taxis. Yes, they may get you to work, but they promote disrespect, recklessness and violence.

Where is their humanity?

Image Credit: By Dillon Marsh (Own work), CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons