This article was added by the user . TheWorldNews is not responsible for the content of the platform.


LAST week I came to my apartment only to find it had been broken into, with all my valuables stolen. This is the second time that I’ve been robbed and the first time was in Siteki, but up until today I haven’t heard anything from the police. Not even an admission of failure to apprehend the thieves. And this time around it broke me even more. There is nothing more painful than working so hard, for months, to buy furniture and valuables only to have them taken away from you in one night. And with this case, there is still nothing from the police. Not a single communication. It’s like the only job that needs to be done is to make a statement, and that’s it.


No actual investigation, no working with the person whose life has just been turned 20 steps backwards. And even if the police are actually working on something, to me it seems like they aren’t because there is no communication from them if I do not make the effort to call and follow-up.
The police go where crime has occurred when citizens have summoned them, otherwise they do not intrude. They keep their distance from the community, and thereby retain their impartiality.

But the police have been called to Ngwane Park, Manzini, so many times based on the number of people who have reported house break-ins. To many individuals a serious crime is something that happened to them. That is why when the police seem to be stalling, they feel that they aren’t doing their job. But does this subjective mentality change when over 40 houses have been broken into in the same community? When does it become a serious crime, when death results from these break ins?


One day I woke up to a car that was tampered with, the fuel inlet pipe was obviously cut and I had to lose so much fixing. Then there were reports that over 10 cars faced the same problem I did when they got to the gas station and tried to fuel their cars only for them to discover the damage the same way I did. Nothing has come out of that, people are getting away with that crime too. When does it get enough attention from the police?
These characteristics – violence (as some of these crimes happen with the victims inside the house and at gunpoint), significant losses to victims, auto theft – capture much of what is important to societal and police images of what is considered serious crime.

Another perspective that we rarely see being incorporated into what is considered serious crime is the issue of fear. Coming back to your house and finding it vandalised, items stolen also makes one wonder what else they did in the house in your absence. The thought of a stranger combing through your house, your property – in my case I found the bedroom in a complete state of chaos – and that brings feelings that can never be captured by the occurrence book of a police officer. What the occasional view misses is the empirical fact that what the cops have taken as minor offences, they trigger citizens’ fears more than the actual crime victimisation.

But defining serious crime in terms of the magnitude of material losses to victims, without reference to the victims’ capacity to absorb the loss, introduces the potential for injustice and ineffectiveness in targeting police attention. In the conventional view – the theft of a popular pastor’s four parked and insured cars at his fancy home attracts more attention than the hijacking of a traveller in the dusty streets of KaShali, or the property theft of a female in her rented flat at KaShali. But the theft of this nobody’s ‘uninsured’ car could leave him trying to get back on his feet for another 20 years, and in my case I lost a lunch box delivery business and that means an end to my entrepreneurial efforts that helped pay my bills and put food on the table for my family. While the degree of crime may seem minor for some, the implications are dire for many of the victims. This is why it feels like a personal attack when the police do not seem to care about our losses.

It is for this reason that I have partnered with a local businessman to spearhead a campaign against crime around KaShali, which seems to be its hub. This coming Sunday we will be discussing crime prevention strategies, as well as touch base on the provisions of the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Act, because domestic violence is a serious issue here too. We are inviting community members of KaShali and Ngwane Park to participate in this activity, and we are appealing to Members of Parliament and community leaders to support this cause because one may never know when and how this could happen to you or your loved ones. Help us keep this community free of crime, a long stretch but it all begins somewhere.