The 4 biggest cities in South Africa just made it onto the list of the 50 Most Dangerous Cities in the World.
9. Cape Town
42. Nelson Mandela Bay
I am completely and utterly horrified that even one of our fabulous cities makes the list, never mind 4.
It caused a little chain reaction in my brain. And something that has been bothering me for a long time now, decided it needed to be written about. Because they relate on a fundamental level.
I drive into Cape Town at about 05h30 every week day morning. That is the only way to miss the chaos that is N1 traffic.
There is a little bit of highway, at the off-ramp to the M5, that suddenly drops from 120km/h to 80km/h. It doesn’t matter why. Or who decided it. Or whether I agree or not. It is what it is. This little stretch of road is notoriously well known as being a trapping hotspot.
Except at 05h30 in the morning obviously.
So I should put a little context in here. I have car insurance with Discovery Health. In order for me to maximize the cash back I get every month, I trend to drive as well as I possibly can. Obeying all the rules of speeding, harsh acceleration, cornering.
I like money. And smoothies (new driving reward). So I drive appropriately.
Another little bit of essential information. I suspect that quite a few traffic officers report for duty at 06h00, or thereabouts, at a traffic department in Town. Because every morning I see at least 2 traffic officers on the N1, heading into Town.
I have yet to ever (and I really do mean ever – in all the time I have been driving to work in Town) see one drop his speed to 80 in the 80 zone. They all merrily maintain their speed, whatever it may be.
Perhaps I am being petty. Perhaps I too would not drop my speed if I didn’t get money back. Perhaps. Perhaps.
All I know is this.
When did we stop holding those tasked with upholding our laws accountable?
Is the message being sent not one of:
‘If I know I am not going to get caught, it is ok to break the law?’
‘If I am not yet on duty, I don’t have to follow or enforce the law?’
‘I am a traffic officer, so I am above the law?’
All I know is that our country is bleeding. There is no accountability anymore. There is no morality anymore. There is something very close to situational anarchy. I will do as I please because I probably won’t get caught.
This is beyond race. Beyond colour. Beyond economics. Beyond it all.
It is fundamentally about right and wrong.
It is a traffic officer speeding with impunity at 05h30 in the morning, on a stretch of highway he will probably set up a speed trap on in a few hours. After his coffee. And breakfast.
But what has he taught every single person who sees him in the morning. Consciously or not.
That it is okay to break the law when it suits you.
And I am also in no way trying to excuse the folks who do chose to break the law. Whichever law it may be. Small, or big.
You have to live with your own conscience and at the end of the day, you and your conscience have to be okay with the choices you make.
Whether you stand in a uniform and are supposed to uphold, and by default obey, a law, or in civilian clothing and chose to ignore a law.
Part of why South Africa has 4 cities on the list of the 50 most dangerous cities in the world?
Because no one gives a fuck anymore.
Until it suits them.