Race, class and violent crime in South Africa: Dispelling the ‘Huntley thesis’

  • Gavin Silber
  • Nathan Geffen
Keywords: violence, crime, violent crime, South Africa, police, race, security, asylum, Huntley

Abstract

Brandon Huntley was granted asylum in Canada earlier this year based on the argument that whites are disproportionately affected by crime in South Africa. The decision was generally condemned, but it did receive support from various groups and individuals including Afriforum, the Freedom Front and James Myburgh (editor of Politicsweb). In this article we show the flaws in Huntley's argument by presenting evidence from several sources that demonstrate that black and poor people are disproportionately the victims of violent crime in South Africa. We are concerned that painting whites as the primary victims of South Africa's social ills is unproductive, ungenerous and potentially hampers the appropriate distribution of resources to alleviate crime. Furthermore, in order to move the debate on crime in South Africa into a more productive direction, we also describe the Social Justice Coalition (SJC) – a relatively new community based organisation that aims to mobilise communities around improving safety and security for all in South Africa, regardless of race or income. Campaigning for novel pragmatic and coordinated community and government responses to the broader lack of safety and security in the country, the SJC focuses on the introduction and development of basic infrastructure and services as a means of reducing crime.

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Published
2009-03-08
Section
Research articles