Is Poverty the Mother of Crime?

Oct 26, 2023 | Press Releases

The IFP, as the Official Opposition in the KZN Legislature, believes that unemployment and hunger are contributing factors when it comes to crime, after seven people were killed execution-style in KwaMashu, after they were allegedly involved in criminality in the area.

First and foremost, the IFP does not condone vigilantism.

We urge people to work with the police and community structures to bring criminals to book. At the same time, we call on the police – who are there to protect law-abiding citizens – to respond swiftly and to do their jobs when communities report criminal acts. It is when communities become frustrated due to a lack of visible policing that they resort to vigilantism in order to protect themselves, and their property.

The KwaMashu incident speaks volumes about how the ANC-led government has failed to create jobs, leaving some people with no other option but being forced to commit crimes in order to survive. While the IFP does not believe that being unemployed gives one an excuse to commit crimes, the reality is that hungry people will do whatever it takes in order to survive.

Hunger makes a thief of any man.

Government is running out of time to prevent mass starvation among the many thousands of citizens who are unemployed. When we, as public representatives, engage with communities, they tell us that they are hungry; they want food as they are unemployed and have been living in abject poverty since the dawn of our democracy.

This is an indictment to the current government and proves that it is incompetent and has run out of ideas. Yet, while it is failing to create jobs, millions of rands are lost to corruption and in bailing out failed SOEs.

Government must ensure that no one is left hungry and should put social protection measures in place to uphold human rights. It is essential that policymakers pay attention and work to address the structural barriers that prevent people from escaping poverty, in order to reduce crime and create a more equitable society.

Further, government must be held accountable for failing to eradicate crime, as criminals do as they please without any fear of being sent to jail. Our laws must be tough on criminals so that people think twice before they commit a crime. The KZN MEC for Community Safety and Liaison, Sipho Hlomuka, and his top officials go to communities under heavy security and make speeches laden with promises, but after they leave, nothing changes.

Visible policing and swift responses by police will encourage communities to work with the police as partners in fighting crime. Further, an active Crime Intelligence Unit is of paramount important to stop mass killings from happening.

Mr Blessed Gwala MPL
Leader of the Official Opposition in KZN and IFP KZN Provincial Spokesperson for Community Safety and Liaison
078 290 5842

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