Rosebank police station: a depressing SA reality

I usually avoid writing these kinds of posts… but felt I had to do so…

The Rosebank Police Station, made me even more depressed about crime in South Africa. I went there on Friday to get an affadvit. As I walked in, a bad odour hit me and stayed with me for the rest of my short visit. The walls in the reception area were generally chipped, grimy and dirty. The place was gloomy and badly lit. The welcome carpet was tatty and had some of the letters of the “Welcome” ripped out. Broken office furniture lay in a heap to one side. I could see one police officer behind the desk, but mostly I saw overweight people without uniforms or name tags milling around behind the desk. Even though it was early morning, I think they had bored expressions on their faces — no hint of pride or alertness or professionalism that you’d expect from the police service.

As I got my affadavit, a photograph of Jacky Selebi — the bombastic and arrogant police commissioner, who certain people are alleging has links with criminal underworld (denied by Selebi) — beamed down at me. Next to him on the other wall a picture of local MP for Safety and Security, Feroz Cachalia smiled down at me. It was only a few days ago that he — the top crime fighter in Gauteng — and his wife became yet another South African crime statistic when they were mugged walking in a park in a nearby suburb, Emmarentia. It was only a few months ago that the country’s national Safety and Security Minister, Charles Nqakula, told the country to stop “whinging” about crime… and that those who continue to do so should leave the country. (This is a country with one of the highest murder rates in the world).

Just outside the police station, police cars and some civilian cars were parked illegally on a red line directly outside the police station. A toothy car guard had earlier tried to usher me into one of the free spots on the red line. I could see by the look on his face he thought I was a bit strange that I refused to park there.

For the first time in my life I got a feeling of despair and that the crime situation in our beautiful country is hopeless. I’ve always been an outspoken fan of the country and the government, urging people to see the positives and see everything in context, but as I walked into Rosebank police station on Friday morning it hit me like a bolt. A sad realisation.

On all levels: from a police station in Rosebank to the cops and to the politicians at the very top, there seems to be a very big problem. Will crime ever be solved? And what does it mean for us?

Comments (6)

  1. Paul Jacobson wrote::

    Extremely depressing. Isn’t this police station supposed to be the one funded by local business?

    Monday, March 5, 2007 at 4:05 am #
  2. Colin Daniels wrote::

    Here Here Matt! Crime in my opinion is the no.1 problem in South Africa and it doesn’t make you unpatriotic to openly say so, despite what most politicians like to tell us. It makes me extremely depressed to hear stories like this, but what’s even more depressing is the fool we call a police commissioner who inspires no confidence in the citizens of this country or the police themselves.

    The sad reality is the current government has lost control of the country (and this is not whingeing!) and has failed to allocate the necessary resources to jacking up the police and judicial system and building more prisons, which is the only chance we have of getting out of this dark scourge we find ourselves in…

    Monday, March 5, 2007 at 7:46 am #
  3. heartwarmer wrote::

    The only chance we have of getting out of this dark scourge is through education my friends.
    Prisons just won’t do it I’m afraid.
    You have to look at the root cause of crime – “hungry, no money, no job, no education”.
    If government focuses on this, well we might never reap the benefits, but our kids, grandkids etc. certainly will.

    Monday, March 5, 2007 at 4:10 pm #
  4. Dave wrote::

    Heartwarmer, you have a point about education but its absolute rubbish to blame crime on poverty. The violent murders, rapes, atm bombings etc. are not a result of a poor or uneducated population.

    Colin, you’re right, its those who don’t speak out against crime that are the real traitors!

    Thursday, March 8, 2007 at 10:19 am #
  5. Matt wrote::

    Yeah Dave I agree with you. Look at India. There is widescale poverty there, yet nowhere near the level of violent crime here — and India has over a billion people! The government has commissioned a new study on the type of crime here — available on 2008 which is going to investigate this syndrome.

    The attack on celebrity Sunday Times columnist David Bullard happened today (Rosebank policestation’s precinct). Depressing 🙁

    Thursday, March 8, 2007 at 1:25 pm #
  6. heartwarmer wrote::

    Fair enough, though comparing India and South Africa is not clever.
    Obviously education alone won’t do it.
    The crime issue in SA I think is a complex one. And I don’t pretend to know the answers. All I was saying is that building more prisons certainly won’t solve the problem.
    Home affairs is atleast one other department that needs some intervention.
    A lot of these violent crimes, I’m told, are largely driven by illegal immigrants. I’m not saying all, but certrainly some.

    Poverty DOES play a role, certainly our own violent past plays a big role. I know we seem to blame all our problems on the apartheid system, but I don’t think anybody has any idea the damage apartheid has truly done to most of the people in this country.

    Was asking my colleague the other day why he thinks crime has gotten out of control. I myself have been trying to figure out what’s driving this sudden madness. I drive with a crutch next to me. I have somehow convinced myself that should anybody try a smash & grab or any such thing, I’d atleast be armed and beat the daylights out of them. I’ve also convinced myself that I have a scary face…and that criminals wouldn’t dare attack ME. I sleep with the same scary face and the crutch next to my bed…

    Sunday, March 18, 2007 at 2:08 pm #

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