From the Oscar Pistorius shooting scandal to the gang rape of a 17-year-old and the tragic dragging death of a taxi driver at the hands of police, the focus on South Africa lately hasn’t been a positive one.
The incidents have given many an opportunity to shine a spotlight on South Africa’s high rate of violence, but according to South African President Jacob Zuma, the country will not continue to accept the labels thrust upon it in the wake of isolated tragedies.
"South Africa is not a violent country — it is certain people in our country who are violent,” Zuma said before South Africa’s parliament Thursday according to South Africa's Mail and Guardian. “By and large, we are not — we are peace-loving people."
Earlier this week the father of Oscar Pistorius told a U.K. newspaper that his family made a habit of collecting guns because the crime rate against white South Africans is disproportionately high and the government won’t protect white people.
Although the ruling African National Congress called his statements “racist,” many Blacks and other people of color in South Africa have begun to allege the police have been “terrorizing” townships after video surfaced showing police dragging taxi driver Mido Macia to his death.
"As a society we are bleeding. We are grieving. We are in pain. We just don't know how to deal with the pain," Graca Machel, the Mozambican wife of former president Nelson Mandela, told reporters at the funeral for Macia.
In his address to lawmakers, Zuma said that he would not allow people to "rubbish our country without realizing” and instead, highlighted the positive gains his administration made toward curbing violent crimes and prosecuting the perpetrators of violence.
"With the support of the community, most suspects in high-profile rape and domestic violence cases were arrested.”
"I have also directed the justice, crime prevention, and security cluster to implement measures to nip violent protests in the bud. ... We are doing this to build a culture of responsibility, accountability, respect for authority and respect for one another," Zuma said.
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(Photo: REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri)
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