Unequal access to basic services is responsible for various criminal activities in South Africa. Critically discuss this statement

” Unequal access to basic services is responsible for various criminal activities in South Africa “. Critically discuss this statement.


South Africa has a notably high rate of murders, assaults, rapes and other violent crimes, compared to most countries. Crime researcher Eldred de Klerk concluded that poverty and poor service delivery directly impact crime levels, while disparities between rich and poor are also to blame.[1] Statistics indicate that crime affects mainly poorer South Africans, but Chandre Gould of the Institute for Security Studies has highlighted factors beyond poverty and inequality, particularly stresses occurring since early childhood which are caused by uncaring environments,[2] and subsequent lack of guardianship. South Africa’s high crime rates, recidivism and overburdened criminal justice system has been described as a crisis which requires a radical rethink of crime and punishment in the youth.[3]

Graph of South Africa’s murder rate (murders per 100,000 people) over a 100-year period from 1915 to 2015. The murder rate increased rapidly towards the end of Apartheid reaching its peak in 1993 then decreasing until bottoming out in 2011.


I would agree 100%. But then you have to look at why there is unequal access to basic services. the ANC has turned ordinary folk into criminals due to their policies and criminal looting of the state coffers. There is NO reason why there should be anyone South African living in a shack with a bucket toilet and one water tap servicing 50 shacks. The SARS has managed to collect enough money every year since the ANC took over a bankrupt state to build a house for every citizen and yet they are 100dreds of thousands of houses behind while their cronies and Cadres roll in the collected cash traveling the world and buying Gucci clothes and shoes. Every state institution is bankrupt every municipality run by the ANC is bankrupt, sewerage farms stand broken and our very scarce water resource destroyed by the incompetence of the deployed ANC cadres. The country is bankrupt the ANC is Bankrupt and the fun is only just beginning.

I think it is a problematic statement for four main reasons.

First, that many millions of people lack access to basic services is a moral and political problem independant of its relation to crime. If one is raising the question as only pertinent insofar as it impacts crime, we are off on a bad ideological and cruel footing.

Secondly, as far as I am aware, between poverty and inequality, inequality is the greater driver of crime. This is observable across many poorer countries than South Africa, where crime is less severe (even when other problems might be decidely worse).

I can only speculate why this might be the case. But in a behavioral sense I would hypothesize that most parsimoniously it is because the social cost of crime is lower (low social interpersonal relations across classes, more mobile and alienated relative population), and the potential rewards greater (power and status more closely tied to wealth, and hence distinded from other virtues) in an unequal society than a simply poor one.

Thirdly, and relatedly, by positing poverty as the main driver of crime we are almost categorically ignoring crimes by rich people. This can include organized crime syndicates, or even corporate and government crimes. Even when they may carry a less directly violent interpersonal character, their social impact can be much more profound (say, embezzling from a hospital or polluting water sources).

Fourthly, if we are speaking purely in legal terms, then we ignore moral crimes. Is it right, ethically and morally, that company owners will receive profits from the work done by employees? I would argue not, but it is a legal foundation of our economy.

This is not to say that the desperation of poverty cannot act as a driver to crime, or even a significant one. But I think it is problematic to assume it to be the strongest social force.


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