As an artist I think I’m quite in touch with my surroundings. I am acutely aware of what goes on around me, at least visually. During the past two years I have noticed many changes. Some of these changes are good but some are really bad.
I’ve noticed a slow slide into chaos during the past two years. People are markedly more agitated and aggresive. Not just on our roads but in almost every interaction I sense real annoyance and almost despair. Yes, yes I know, these are anecdotal and subjective experiences. If you live in some one horse town with a mountain and two goats then move on. I’m talking about the big cities. And the one down there doesn’t count, it’s full of fucking foreigners. It’s not even South African anymore.
Up here, in the 35 degree heat people are getting really pissed off. I don’t know why but women stare you down like you’re a rapist and men have this “what-the-fuck-are-you-looking-at” stare that belongs in C-Max, not in an upmarket shopping mall. Almost every guy is acting like he’s going to be butt-fucked (by me?). Almost every women is acting as if they’re Beyoncé and all us dudes want to get in their pants. Reality check ladies. Most of you are dog ugly and the reason why I’m staring is because I can’t believe the doctor let you live when you were born.
Recently I started paying attention to BMW drivers (yes, yes, I’ve ranted about them before). Anyway, the more I pay attention, the more I realize that it’s all true. They’re fucking assholes. We make jokes about their indicators not working but just today I drove behind not 2, but 3 bmw’s and none of them had indicators. What is up with that?
Now, since I’ve been paying attention to the cars more than usual I’ve noticed another trend. The VW Amarok drivers. These guys are the worst. Their trucks are so big. I mean very fucking big, but I think it’s in direct proportion to the size of their egos. Testosterone, small brains, big egos, small dicks. That’s them. They have no respect for anything or anyone. Roads mean nothing. Stop signs are in some foreign language. They bully their way through the traffic causing destruction in their wake. These people need to be shot on sight.
Our country is slowly descending into chaos. People don’t stop at robots anymore. I see people throw plastic bottles out of their cars and just today I witnessed a guy do an illegal u-turn while there’s a traffic cop behind him! He didn’t give a shit. You know why? Because you can buy yourself out of any situation today. The law is for sale. In any event I think the traffic cop was too scared to pull the guy over because he might just get shot. That’s what happens in this city. It’s become the new Lagos of Africa. Cars pull over on the side of the road all time. What the fuck are they doing on the side of the road? Did they get lost? What the fuck is going on?
We’re on our way to shit street in a speed train and no-one is noticing. Lawlessness, apathy, lethargy, anarchy is around every corner. We’re like the proverbial frog in the hot water. It’s nice and warm now, but by the time we notice we’re boiling it’ll be too late.
We all know crime is totally out of control in South Africa. Government departments, political parties, NGO’s and the press are all speculating on the causes and the cures for this appalling state of affairs. Days are spent in think tanks discussing the socio political situation and how to reverse the moral decline of our society. Last year the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) boasted about their 88% conviction rate, further confusing the issue. They neglected to point out that their definition of conviction rates involve only those cases brought to court. The vast majority of criminals are never even caught.
The fact is that South Africa’s conviction rate is closer to 5.7%. A staggering 74% of all violent crimes do not even make it to court. More than 17,000 people are murdered each year. More than 90% of the criminals that commit murder are never convicted.
In South Africa you have a 94% chance of getting away with murder
The answer to the question of what causes our extraordinarily high crime rate is very simple. The world average conviction rate is more than 50%. This means that if you commit a crime in the rest of the world there is a 50% chance that you are going to be caught and convicted. In South Africa however you have a 94% chance of getting away with it.
The fact is that crime pays in South Africa. Yes, there are many socio economic issues and inequality drives the criminals to do what they do, but the real reason is that crime pays. It’s easier to make a living through crime than to do honest labour. There is no effective deterrent. Not with such a low conviction rate.
It’s not the fault of our police force either. They are overworked and underpaid. We need to re-energise our police force. We need to invest more in recruiting and training quality policemen and women. We need to reverse this horrific statistic and that can only be done by arresting and convicting more criminals. It’s really not that complicated.
We have all heard about the economist Dawie Roodt and his family being attacked in his home in Pretoria. It’s a terrifying story and a reality for many South Africans that have fallen victim to mindless, ruthless and murderous gangsters.
Dawie was sitting in his study when his daughter entered the study accompanied by 3 intruders. Apparently one had a gun, one had a knife and the other had a panga. In the house was his wife and their three children. They were tied up, gagged and blindfolded and systematically robbed of their possessions. Eventually Dawie managed to convince the one with the knife to take him to his car under the auspices that he had money in the car. He managed to free his hands and overpower the robber, but not before being seriously wounded in the process. The power went off due to loadshedding and the robbers fled. Dawie was rushed to hospital. Thankfully no-one else was injured or killed.
Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security.
One thing stuck by me reading his account of the horrific incident. Dawie said that he didn’t know if attacking the robber was the right thing to do. He’s an economist, well versed in accounting but not in the martial arts.
What should he have done? Do you know what you need to do in such an event? Can it be prevented? What can we learn from this?
I have been trained in unarmed combat and was a instructor in the national defence force and South African police. I have been practising and teaching self-defence for the past 30 years and I would like to share some thoughts that could save your life and the lives of your family. Hindsight is a perfect art as they say, but that is how we learn. Through our own experiences and the experiences of others. Let us not allow this opportunity to learn escape us.
You are never safe.
Don’t think because you live in a security estate that you are safe. Yes, you are safer, but not immune. Don’t think that because the estate has an electric fence and cameras that you are properly protected. You are not. Few people that live in security estates have proper security. Dawie Roodt also though he was safe in a secure estate. We know how that turned out. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security.
Invest in proper security.
Many people have security. They have burglar bars that are not burglar proof. They have electric fences that are easily scaled by intruders. They have cameras that mean nothing, because identifying a criminal after the fact is too late. They have dogs that can be easily poisoned. They own guns but don’t know how to use them, or keep them locked up in a safe.
Don’t think that standard burglar bars are adequate. I have seen criminals crawl through burglar bars that would seem impossible. There is also no point in burglar bars if your doors are constantly open.
Get decent perimeter security and early warning detection system. Early detection could be in the form of beams around the perimeter of your property. Make sure your security is serviced regularly and in good working order. Make sure your family knows how to operate your security systems.
If you can afford it, employ a guard at night. I know there are people that are going to say that it’s an overkill, but I can’t put a cost on the lives of my family. Get a guard from a reputable security company. It will be the best investment you can ever make for your family.
Prevention is better than cure. If the criminals find your property too difficult to breach, they will move their attentions elsewhere. Make sure you are not regarded as an easy target.
Health and fitness
If you are unhealthy, unfit and overweight you can’t protect your family. Look after your body and exercise regularly.
Invest in self defence training for your family. If you have practised scenarios where you are attacked in your home you will be better prepared to deal with it. Importantly, your family will know what to do and will react instinctively in a crisis situation, increasing your chances of survival ten fold. By self-defence I don’t mean the local Karate school. Karate is about as helpful as a plastic knife. Learn self-defence from ex military or police trainers.
Submit or fight?
Every house invasion is different and your reaction will depend on a number of situations. Suffice to say that by not resisting you will have a better chance of survival. This is not necessarily true in a farm setup because robbers have much more time on a farm. It is likely that they will take their time to torture and hurt you and your family. In a residential area they have to be very quick. They don’t have time. The longer they stay the more dangerous it becomes. You have to get them out as soon as possible. Give them what they want – all of it. Don’t even think about it. Don’t try and be clever and waste their time. If they get irritated then you are in trouble.
You can only consider to resist if you KNOW that you are going to win. You can’t gamble with the lives of your family. This means that you must have a clear opportunity to overpower them. Given the right opportunity it is possible, but the odds in Dawie’s case of 3-1 were not good.
Always target the most dangerous one first. The guy with the gun is your first target. If you are able to overpower him and take the gun, you will have the upper hand. In Dawie’s case this could work, but not if the other guys also had guns.
Never split them up. Don’t separate the bad guys because you will be leaving your family alone. Even if you manage to overpower one bad guy, the others will still be with your family and that’s very dangerous. Stick with your family at all times. Stay close to the most dangerous guy. Wait for the right opportunity. You have to get your hands on the firearm in order to deal with the other bad guys. If they are any good, you won’t be able to. Resign yourself to your fate by submitting. Only attack if you KNOW you are going to succeed, because failure can cause the death of your entire family. Knowing when to attack and how to disarm someone requires training.
So what can we learn from the Dawie Roodt incident? As I said, hindsight is a perfect art, but there are lessons. This doesn’t mean that Dawie did anything wrong either. He did the best he could at the time. Perhaps you can do better by learning from his experience.
Don’t have a false sense of security. Invest in security even if you stay in a security estate. No-one is safe.
Be healthy and fit.
Learn self defence from a reputable instructor.
Fight only if the odds are in your favour.
Some more of my articles about security and crime:
There is so much misinformation out there with distorted facts and selective analysis about crimes committed with firearms in South Africa. The pro gun lobby would let us believe that if guns were outlawed only outlaws would have guns, and to support their claims they regularly cite the few cases where a legal gun owner either defended himself successfully with his firearm or prevented a crime from happening.
Here are some startling facts:
South Africa has one of the highest murder rates by firearm. 21.51 People out of every 100,000 die by the gun. In contrast to this incredibly high number Japan has fewer than 0.06 deaths by firearm. Even our neighbor, Zimbabwe has almost 200 times less deaths by firearm than South Africa, coming in at 0.12 deaths per 100,000.
Japan has managed to reduce its gun related crimes to almost zero by making it virutually impossible to own a gun. They have some of the most onerous gun ownership regimes in the world. In fact, in 2006 only two gun related murders occurred in Japan.
Although we don’t have accurate statistics about illegal gun ownership in South Africa, estimates vary from between 1 – 6 million. We are however not talking about unlicensed guns. In fact, the majority of these firearms are stolen from the legal gun owner and then used in a crime. In 2014 the police and defense force had around 2,000 firearms stolen and 5,500 stolen from private citizens.
There is no logical argument in support of citizen gun ownership. We need a gun free society in order to become a crime free society.
While I am sitting at home in the dark I am thinking about all my travels and the incredible places I have seen. Yes, I’m in the dark. Not because of load shedding but because the power went off during a storm. We had load shedding earlier in the day but the power goes off at the slightest whim. At least 6 times a week.
The guard is patrolling outside in the rain. I can see his flashlight beam bouncing off the trees and reflecting off the rain drops. There are flashes of lightning every few seconds. It’s almost 11:30pm. The dogs are lying close to me. It’s as if they can sense that when it rains like this it’s more dangerous than ever. The bad guys know that people think they won’t invade their homes in the rain. In fact, they love the rain because it masks the sound and it’s dark, especially when the power is off. It’s a dangerous time to be on a farm.
I check the electric fence again. Just to make sure the battery backups are all working. I check the doors again. I look through the window to see where the guard is. I call him on the two-way radio. He sounds nervous.
I check the cars outside through the window. Just a week or two ago the bastards stole the wheels off one of the cars and the wheels off the trailer. They managed to lift the car and put bricks underneath the chassis. It’s standing there, miserable, waiting for new set of wheels. They came back again a few days later, probably to get the wheels off the other cars as well. Luckily we saw them coming.
We’re a mere 12km from town but it’s pitch dark. The radio crackles. One of the workers report back that the power is off in the entire area. We have to make sure you see, because the bastards sometimes cut the power to the farm.
I worry about the irrigation pump that needs replacing. It’s the second one they have stolen in less than two months. The insurance company is refusing to pay for this last one. That’s more than R10,000 down the drain. The last time we welded the bloody thing onto two steel railway blocks. I wouldn’t be able to get the motor off with a tractor. They did. Fuck knows how.
I check the cellphone. Battery is ok. That’s important because we don’t have land lines. The cables were repeatedly stolen 10 years ago and Telkom refuses to replace them. No phones, no electricity. Thank god we have water.
I’ve been trying to sell this place. The home where my kids grew up. The home where mom and dad lived with us. I was made an offer about 7 years ago. Today I can’t sell it for 20% of what I was offered back then. We are economic prisoners.
So, I think about other places. Other countries. Countries where you have electricity all day, every day. Countries where the only people that have armed guards are politicians. Countries where there are phone lines and broadband everywhere. Countries where the marginal tax rate is a mere 15%.
I think about the places I have visited where you get into a load of trouble if you jaywalk. Where you receive a spot fine for littering and where urinating in the street will get you locked up for the night.
Yes, there are countries where basic services are actually delivered. Where municipalities actually function and where the police actually manage to uphold the law and protect their citizens. There are places out there where you can walk into a supermarket and buy absolutely anything and when you come out there are no car guards harassing you for R5. Where you don’t have to double check if your car is locked because someone might be jamming your remote.
There are many countries where the life expectancy is over 80. We are at number 159 on the list with a paltry life expectancy of 61. Yes, there are countries out there where you will actually live longer. I mean, The Sudanese have a higher life expectancy than us.
I think about my kids and in particular about my son. A white Afrikaner male. I think only the SS during the Second World War was more hated than white Afrikaner males in South Africa today. We are the oppressors, the occupiers, the colonists. We are viewed as the cause of all suffering and pain in this country. My son is too, even though apartheid was over by the time he was born. And for this reason he will probably struggle to find a job in the country. He is doomed like so many other young white men. Doomed by law. Doomed by Black Economic Empowerment and Affirmative Action. A necessary correction at the expense of our youth.
I have deep roots here. My family has a rich and long history here. From arriving at the Cape of Good Hope in the 1680’s, to trekking across the Drakensberg mountains to fighting the British during the Anglo Boer War. The roots are deep.
But, it is time to go. It’s time to leave this god forsaken country and go on our own little Great Trek across the oceans. To start a new life and build a new future. I will no longer be part of this failed country. A country filled with criminals, murderers and corrupt politicians. I will not wait until I have to bury a child or a wife. I will not allow my children to get married and bear children in this place.
For years we have been told that we are not wanted here. So I will leave, with my taxes and my job creation, and my businesses and my skills. They can have this country. My ancestors have moved many times before and I will do the same. They can keep it. Destroy it. Take the farms. Pilage the stores. Make more labor laws to protect the incompetent. The country is burning while our president laughs.