(BBC News theme tune plays)
South Africa’s preparing for what’s being described as
the most important elections since the end of Apartheid,
and the dominant issues for all parties are
soaring unemployment and crime levels.
Those problems are at their most acute near Cape Town where
the murder rate and gang related crime have turned the city
into one of the world’s most violent places.
Our Africa correspondant, Andrew Harding,
reports from an area called “Grassy Park”
which is on the outskirts of Cape Town.
We’re driving into one of South Africa’s
most dangerous neighbourhoods,
This is gangsters paradise
Our guide Shane has been a
gang leader here for years
In prison, um, I’ve hurt quite a few people
stabbed them in the face, or shot somebody
you know, something like that but,
yeah, that’s how I earn my respect
– How are you?
Shane has brought us to territory controlled by The American gang,
they specialise in drug dealing and robbery
We steal cars, we rob, we do everything
This is my knife
How many people have you stabbed with that?
I don’t know, I can’t count…
…round about maybe, 30
I like to stab
You like stabbing?
Because I was stabbed
Face to face with South Africa’s
seemingly unstoppable crime wave
How are gangsters affected by the recession?
They’re gonna more cases,
more murderers, more rapists
Are you already seeing more people without jobs…
– …wanting to join your gangs?
– They are, every day there’s a person coming
– Young people like this
Suddenly they start demanding money for drugs,
we leave fast
On the streets nearby, idle crowds,
this country’s growing under class
There’s about 50% unemployment in this area
So the government hasn’t delivered
here, for the majority
The government really,
I don’t think that the government has delivered
for the majority, the evidence is there
With half the adult population here
unemployed, and 80% of them in gangs,
it’s inevitable that a lot of these children
are gonna end up in the same boat
But Shane, our guide, has proved
it is possible to escape,
quitting his gang for a new career
as a truck driver and rap singer
Like, um, gangsters believe that there’s
no way out
but it’s not like that, there’s a way out…
Just to keep clean, stay positive, drug free
& just make the best of, and success of life
I’m busy doing a…
Andrew Harding, BBC News, Cape Town
subtitling by Salem874