The African Peer Review Mechanism, in a report to be released next month among African leaders, reportedly said crime, poverty, unemployment and the dominance of the ruling African National Congress are threatening South Africa’s stability. The group, which was formed by the African Union to help countries improve their governance, reportedly said while South Africa has made progress since the end of white minority rule in 1994, violent crime remains its most difficult challenge.
Smuts Ngonyama is spokesman for the ruling African National Congress. He said the South African government is not responsible for the rise in crime.
“I know for a fact that the government is working on the crime issue. The crime in South Africa is brought in here by a number of people that are coming from all over the world, and most of the people that get arrested are coming from a number countries in Africa, people that are involved in drugs and stuff like that,” he said.
Ngonyama described as “hogwash” reports attributed to the African Peer Review Mechanism which alleged that South Africa’s high crime rate may be due in part to the ruling African National Congress’ policies.
“I hope you will not undertake me as being rude if I say that is hogwash because if you look at the continent as a whole in Africa, the strongest country now economically is South Africa. You have next door to South Africa is Zimbabwe where the economy is falling flat. You have the economy next to us which is Mozambique is not moving. You can go to a number of countries in the continent. That’s why you have an exodus of people,” he said.
Ngonyama said no other government in the world would be able to deal with the political and economic refugee challenges that he said South Africa is dealing with. But he said the South African government could not chase the refugees away because it respects international law.
Ngonyama said apart from its high crime rate, South Africa has made tremendous gains in the area of good governance since black rule began in 1994.
“That is why the peer review of Africa gave us very, very strong applause on the economic policies and everything else except the crime which is actually imported to South Africa by many, many people who are coming from other countries within the continent,” he said.
Ngonyama would not say whether or not the ANC would support embattled former deputy president Jacob Zuma if he chooses to run for president on the party ticket. But he said the matter would be discussed at the party’s national conference later this year.
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