UNITED DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT

MEDIA RELEASE

MBEKI BLUSTERS ABOUT VIOLENCE

STATEMENT ISSUED BY ANNELIZÉ VAN WYK, MP
UDM SPOKESPERSON ON SAFETY AND SECURITY

The statement by President Mbeki that violence, and not HIV/AIDS, is the biggest cause of death in South Africa serves only to detract from two of the biggest crises this country has ever faced.

In the first place it is disingenuous to play down the horrific scale of suffering and death that HIV/AIDS wreaks on South Africa. Secondly, it is disappointing that the President of the country would only admit to the astronomical rate of violence and murder in SA, in an effort to divert attention from another of his ill-considered positions. His claims that he cannot ignore this violence to attend to the (supposedly lesser?) matter of HIV/AIDS. He claims to be concerned about the level of violence in this society, but what is it that he and his government have done to address violence and crime? The only memorable utterances made by Mbeki in relation to the SAPS, is those linked to the "plot scandal" where the police were burdened with investigating rumours peddled by a self-acknowledged fraudster.

The seriousness of this government about crime and violence is demonstrated by their inability to devise a strategy to deal with organised crime and gangsterism, and the related issue of drug-abuse. Mbeki is quick to quote statistics, but he does not acknowledge that the majority of violence that occurs is directly linked to drug and alcohol abuse. In fact, this President is so committed to eradicating this leading cause of violence in our society, that he has yet to deem it necessary to even answer a letter by Bantu Holomisa, bringing this very matter to his attention, more than two and half months ago.

President Mbeki, in a stupendous blundering manner shortly before Women's Day, conveniently grabs the issue of violence to avoid discussions on HIV/AIDS, without given proper attention to the link between violence and HIV/AIDS. Rape is a prominent feature of the South African landscape. But he assures us that violence and HIV/AIDS is a great concern of his government.

All things considered it is not surprising that he appointed Tshwete and Maduna as Ministers for Safety and Security and Justice, who can mock the horrific incidence of rape in front of international media with impunity.

Enquiries:
Annelizé van Wyk, MP
UDM Spokesperson on Safety and Security
082 - 557 4184

Cape Town
7 August 2001