“Despite everything in the past, we used to have a good police force. They had special branches for special types of crime. Then the new government abolished some. Now they’re bringing some back. They did the same thing with the training of teachers and nurses. First they scrapped previous departments and programs, now they don’t have enough people in the right positions. And, of course, they blame Apartheid.”
“Well, Kleinpiet, this time I think they surprised even themselves with the level of stupidity. If you know this is a high-level case, why don’t you appoint somebody that has the sense to wear overshoes at a crime scene? This chap makes statements in court and has to retract them because of their inaccuracy. To top it all, now it’s reported that the investigating officer is facing attempted murder charges himself. Seven of them, no less. He shot at a taxi, for goodness’ sakes!” Despite her usual control, Gertruida’s laugh sounds bitter and disillusioned.
“Look, we have two opposing forces at work in this country: Crime and Policing. And the police are the guys that suffered the most in the new democracy. What happened was that the government kicked out the guys with expertise because they served the previous government, and – sadly so – because of BEE. Some segments of society can forget about getting promotion in the new SAPS. There seems to be a pattern here: appoint a commissioner, then spend millions on a court case to try – and fail – to prove his non-involvement in crime.
“In the meantime, the criminals are getting more and more expertise. Drugs. Abalone. More than 100 rhino’s this year. Corruption. Rapes. Murders. And how many convictions? Less than 10%? That means the odds are in your favour. If you have a 90% chance of getting away with a million or two, won’t you bay a ticket?”
“It’s all a mad scramble, guys. Musical egg-in-the-face. It’s like the boy stopping the ocean from overwhelming the dyke by holding his finger in the breach. We may as well give up.”
“No, Vetfaan. It’s time for the world to take notice. We used to have our problems, that’s true…but we can’t go on accepting this sort of bungling and continue blaming it on the past. It’s time for the government to acknowledge the scale of their problems – and that they’re responsible for them.”
“Oh they will,”Vetfaan smiles ruefully, “they will. Once they notice, they will. And that won’t happen until their faithful supporters see how they are being conned. Maybe Dr Ramphele must team up with Helen Zille…now, won’t that be a foundation for the future?”
“And in the meantime?”
“Why, the parade of fools will just keep on marching…”