About the neighbours’ shout of “help” at 3am this morning

By Alec Hogg

We’ve just finished a short break on the KZN South Coast in Southbroom. Not long ago, as with much of the district, there was a 25% chance Southbroom homes would experience at least one break-in a year. Elsewhere along the coast, homeowners built higher walls, added electric fences or simply cut their losses and sold. In Southbroom, the community is proud of the fact each contributes a modest monthly subscription to support the local SAPS branch, funding 18 full-time policemen. They claim that five years after starting the initiative, the crime rate has dropped 70%.

That’s impressive, but clearly not enough. At 3am this morning we were startled by shouting from next door. While asleep, our neighbours, a Zimbabwean couple down for their annual holiday, awoke to find two thieves inside the house. During the dying years of Apartheid, Clem Sunter wrote an excellent book called “Pretoria will provide – and Other Myths”. That is more true today than ever. In this instance, even the best intentioned public-private partnership struggles to cope against misguided economic policies that are growing already record unemployment.

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