New York City, the world’s financial center, prior to Rudy Giuliani becoming the mayor, was the center place where one would be scared of walking at night simply for a short stroll or going through the subway system. The city was the hub and cesspool of all kinds of robberies and personal attacks.
However, when Rudy Giuliani became mayor of the City on January 1, 1994 through December 31, 2001, he filled the streets, on every street corner, with high trained and well paid security officers and cops. He also installed CC cameras on every street corner.
His primary and focus mission was to clean up New York City, and it worked. Even prior to 9-11, New York City became one of the most safest cities in the world, where you could get up any time of the day and walk down the street, without the fear of being worried about some schmuck snatching your wallet or purse, or robbing you at gun or knife point.
Mayor Bloomberg has continued on Rudy Giuliani’s vision, to keep New York City safe, and to date, it has continued that momentum. Today, you can literally walk down the street, and not have to worry about keeping your eyes on your wallet or pulse, and simply worry about seeing all the great excitement stuff around the city.
On the other side, South Africa, obviously not a city but a country, in most of its metropolitan areas, such as Johannesburg, has nearly been the safe haven for all kinds of ruthless pick-pocketing, car hijackings, and at gun point robberies, some of them are usually deadly.
Most people would tell you not to be downtown Johannesburg after 5:00PM, that’s when most offices are closed for business. And that’s when most robberies and car hijacking take place, as they try to catch the rush hours, people going back home and well-uninformed tourists.
Thus, the question is; what can the government of Zuma do to help stop the car hijackings, robberies and attacks on civilians and tourists?
One possible economic cause of these types of acts, it’s because of the high rate of unemployment. South Africa has one of the highest rates of unemployment in the world, at one point years back, the rate of unemployment in South Africa was at about 35%. However, according to the Voice of America, “despite a recent spate of bad economic news, the latest unemployment rate for South Africa has actually declined. The Labor Force Survey reports a drop from 23.2 percent in the third quarter of 2008 to 21.9 percent in the fourth quarter. The improvement is largely due to an increase in construction industry jobs”.
But despite an improvement in unemployment in South Africa, still, the majority of those who are employed still earn less than what they need for buying basic necessities. The GDP per capita in South Africa is $10,100 (CIA World Factbook), and that’s good compare to the rest of Africa.
Then why the rate of robberies and hijacking still high in South Africa? Partly, because the majority of the unemployed are those who didn’t finish their secondary school education during the apartheid era. And, post independence, they found themselves having to compete for low paying jobs, which compare to their uneducated counterparts in America, they refused to work 9 to 5 jobs with low paying salaries. Thus, in the US, the selling of drugs and in South Africa, the life of robberies and hijacking, has become the only way of making a decent living, for the short-term of course, because soon o r later, the culprit either goes to jail for his or her actions or gets killed by the law enforcement officers or co-rivalries.
Giuliani turned around New York City by trusting his law enforcement officers he has placed on every street corner to carry on their mission, to protect and serve, keeping the city safe and secure. On the other hand, in South Africa, with the recent reported bad news of South African Police Officers shooting and killing a two-year old boy, whom they thought was carrying a knife or gun, and their unofficially authorized code of shoot to kill, how can Zuma trust his law enforcement officers to carry out their mission, to serve and protect, but shoot first, and ask questions later?
Another underlying issue; South African Police Officers are low paid government officials, and when they are low paid, they have no motivation or moral authority to work even harder as required, which also puts their safety in danger from those ruthless and merciless criminals.
In America, law enforcement officers (cops) are some of the best paid workers. They have great benefits, and they never have to worry about what to eat at home or where to sleep. Unlike in South Africa, where cops are some of the lowest paid employees.
The first thing that Zuma needs to do is to ask the South African Parliament to vote and pass a bill, authorizing a high increase of wages and salaries plus great benefits for all law enforcement officers, at least doubling their current salary and wages. And then deploy them at full force on every street corner. If they are well paid, then their families are well-kept and fed, and if their families are well fed and kept, then they don’t have to worry about receiving bribes from the robbers and thieves, and for that, they will be more motivated to do their jobs, keeping the streets safe and secure.
With the 2010 World Cup coming to South Africa, certainly strict security measures are being put in place. However, either pre-or-post the 2010 World Cup, South Africa needs to act fast, and make it its highest priority to end these kinds of acts, for the sake of its citizens and most importantly, the unsuspecting tourists from around the world who travel to South Africa, everyday.