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South Africa Essay, Research Paper

Police In South Africa

In the old South Africa before 1994 the police officers job was to squash subversion and his main obstacle was that most people hated him. Today after the 1994 years election the South African police force main job is to stop the growing crime rate. Which seems impossible for them to manage. The police officers main hurdle is his own lack of modern policing skills. Many policemen are barely literate, and are no good at the administrative tasks on which they spend seventy percent of their time.

South Africa’s murder rate is eight times that of the United States, and figures released on December 7th, 1999 showed steady increases in the other 18 of the 20 most serious categories of offence (The Economist January 22nd 2000). According to data released by the police, only one in every seven murders reported ends in conviction; and only one in 50 car hijacking result in a conviction (Business Day, 14 January 1999).

School children can today in South Africa get hold of guns more easily than pencils. There are nine million legal guns and estimated to be three to four million illegal guns in circulation. Some hospitals now treat more bullet wounds than traffic injuries. Almost 18,000 new gun licenses are granted each month, and many believe that a firearm is their best defense. Guns themselves are often target for robbers; most of the 225 policemen killed in South Africa last year were murdered for their weapons (The Economist February 27th 1999)

Corruption – Governance

South African government official policy has been to downsize the government and make it more racially representative. The South African government tried to achieve this goal by offering generous severance packages to white public servants and then did not fill their vacancies. By early 1998 24,000 individual packages had been granted to white (After Mandela, The 1999 South African Elections, pg 15). This policy backfired on the South African Government since most of the people taking the packages were more experienced and competent public officials the public service could not afford to lose.

Men and women who have been taken literally from the bush and without previous training, and they have been asked to run the governments. There are too many civil servants, and they often do not like each other. Some public servants claim multiple salaries and pensions, and the honest ones are often not paid for months because there is no money left.

The South African government needs to focus on the core issues, job creation, crime, housing and education and try to solve these problems.

Aids

Nearly 13 % of South Africans in the ages of 20 – 64 are infected with HIV. Between 6 – 10 million South Africans are likely to die of AIDS in the next ten years (The Economist May 27th 2000).

South Africa has failed to promote a safe sex campaign effectively. More than 1,500 South Africans a day are infected with HIV.

Uganda, who has fewer resources than South Africa, reduced HIV frequency by half by their successful anti-aids campaign with use of education as the main method. Mr. Mbeki should use the Uganda method and urge people to sleep around less and use condom more.

There was almost no sex education at all in South African schools for a long time, and is only in the last couple of years it has dramatically increased. South Africa should focus their efforts on the young; most children under the age of 15 do not have sex yet and are not infected, those are the once to reach.

And it did not help that Mr. Mbeki for a long time took advise from “scientist” that argued that HIV did not cause AIDS. Mr. Mbeki finally has come to his right mind and believes that HIV does indeed cause AIDS.

South Africa, with its advanced industries has started to suffer a shortage of skilled manpower because of AIDS. Companies have started to inform and raise awareness of AIDS among their workers because the companies cannot afford to lose any more manpower.

Democratizing

In the early 1980s the South African president P. W. Botha started to initiate a process of the South African political system. President Botha legalized for example black trade unions, established mixed trading zones, granted citizenship to urban blacks etc, but P.W. Botha did not go all the way and still did not allowed in the house of parliament blacks. President Botha did not want and had no intentions of totally change the political system. His reforms were more designed to improve and moderate and make the existing system more acceptable. But he had no intention at all to end white power.

President Botha’s reforms had to opposite effect, and intensified demands from South African blacks for their full incorporation into the political system. This led to several uprising in black townships that had hoped the collapse of the Afrikaner dominated regime was imminent. The government had to suppress black people and crushed their dreams one more time. This uprising had one major impact; it lead to international attention and both the United States and the European government intensified their economic sanctions against South Africa.

In 1989 when F.W. de Klerk and he replaced P.W. Botha as a president, he started more extensive reforms to incorporate blacks in the political system, and emphasized the importance of negotiations instead of the use of violence as Botha. In 1990 the African National Congress was unbanned, imprisoned political leaders were freed, and exiles were allowed to return to the country.

Conclusion

Before the “revolution” of 1994 people in South Africa tended to cluster in large urban centers that were unable to provide critical public service such as medical care, law enforcement, electrical utilities, and sanitation. Once the population in South Africa realized that they no longer had to live in the poverty of the past, that change was possible, and the people could create a better life through their own efforts, their dissatisfaction grew.

South African black’s and other minority groups expected too much when Nelson Mandela become president; many of the conditions of before 1994 still today has not changed and that has lead to mass frustration, social unrest and political upheaval, which only further diminished the prospect for economic growth.

South Africa and Africa as a continent has a major obstacle to overcome when it comes to fighting AIDS. The disease now ranks fourth among the worlds big killers. For Africa to have a chance a clear leadership is required. Most African government has been slow to recognize the threat.

There can be good governance in South Africa if the Mbeki administration is prepared to bring courage and determination into the office of the presidency. As it stands today ANC’s member of parliament are not even encouraged to critize their own ministers. There is very little accountability. There is a blurring line between the relationship of civil society and party politics; often they are the same standing on ANC side.

Is hard for NGOs to be independent since the in most cases receive government funding. Today many NGOs compete for government contract and are following the official line. One of the most important elements in promoting greater accountability is the role played by NGOs, civic society and think tanks. The NGOs and the civic organizations needs to distance itself from the ANC, otherwise how can they be really representing the real needs of the poor clearly?

? Job creation seen as the most important problem by 72 % black South Africans and 60 % of colored community.

? Criminal concerns 80 % of white and 90 % of Indian communities.

? According to national polls, 41 % are satisfied with democracy, 59 % are unsatisfied.

? Question: What if democracy does not work.

? 47 % consider democracy to be always best, 43% favored a strong non- elected leader, 10 % did not know.

? 1997 50 5 of voters believed that officials in government department were corrupt.

(After Mandela, The 1999 South African Elections, pg 54)


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