South Africa: Democracy and violence – the threat to South Africa’s elections | Martin Plaut/Daily Maverick

The ruptures of the apartheid era have been carried over into post-apartheid society, leaving the country with a tragic reputation for beatings, murder and the abuse of women and children. Police record some 650,000 victims of violence a year. As a recent headline put it: “South Africa is one of the most violent and unsafe countries in the world.” There is little trust in the police and more than 500,000 private security guards are employed by firms and individuals at a cost of $3.7-billion a year – more than twice the number of police officers. This climate of violence is carried over into political life, yet outside of South Africa this is little understood. Most international observers assume the miracle of the reconciliation ushered in by Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu with the Rainbow Nation still prevails. Yet the evidence is that political murders and intimidation now disfigure South African politics. Violence and intimidation threaten the legitimacy of the 2019 general election. Unless these issues are recognised and confronted there is a risk that the democracy for which so much was sacrificed will be undermined.

Full Article: Op-Ed: Democracy and violence – the threat to South Africa’s elections | Daily Maverick.

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