The last Apartheid village in South Africa

Moses Mayekiso (mosesmayekiso@outlook.com)
Feb 2017

How is it possible that in the last little Apartheid village in South Africa, Kosmos, there are two illegal gates in a row, that restrict public access to the mostly white public village. And yes, access control is mostly done based on skin colour. So if you are black, you have to render your ID to enter, or if you want to remove a TV from the village, you need a letter from your “white” master “proving” that it is your TV you are removing. Black labourers enter the village on foot after being checked by security.

All of this, pretty normal in a security estate, but Kosmos is a public township.

The gate is clearly discriminatory, but in this case, being funded and upheld mostly with old Apartheid money (the old NP minister of finance, Barend du Plessis lives in Kosmos). The white population, very much in line with the US Muslim ban, “feel” more safe if there is a gate or two between them and the black masses. The fact that Kosmos is a public village seems to be an unfortunate formality.

Everyone is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and benefit of the law.

Everyone has the right to freedom and security of the person, which includes the

right—

(a) not to be deprived of freedom arbitrarily or without just cause;

(b) not to be detained without trial;

(c) to be free from all forms of violence from either public or private sources;

(d) not to be tortured in any way; and

(e) not to be treated or punished in a cruel, inhuman or degrading way.

Freedom of movement and residence

  1. (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement.

(3) Every citizen has the right to enter, to remain in and to reside anywhere in, the Republic.

But more importantly, the Apartheid gate doesn’t work. Yes, it superficially keeps petty crime limited by providing visible “security”, but you only have to  look at the nearly-not-available statistics (how many crimes were prevented, criminals apprehended etc.) vs. the cost of running this gate, to realise that the funds collected for the running of the gate is mostly misappropriated.

This normative approach by the Kosmos community, opens them up to abuse by con-artists who not only drive the two communities further apart, but at a significant cost to both parties. Cowboys who somehow magically keep illegal gates in place if they are paid for it, and who in return bribe, cajole and intimidate the local council to leave the gate alone.

What is the alternative to such a gate? How can the Kosmos residential and informal communities protect themselves?

Ironically, both communities in essence (once they can overcome their mutual racial prejudices) suffer from the same issues. They have no security, the police is not capable to assist effectively (well, there is more support in the village than the township). The SAPS currently maintain a position that the gate is the lesser of two evils, theft being the antithesis. But the message is clear, the agenda of  SAPS is to address crime, not the root of inequality.

By developing a common agenda and value system (so neither community can enforce it religious or cultural values on each other), the two communities can work together to secure their common future. Both communities interact with each other on a daily basis and are locked into a symbiotic death spiral with the informal community nearly completely employed by the Kosmos residents.

99% of both communities are decent upstanding citizens who should easily be able to work out a mutually acceptable solution to security and crime that does not involve resorting to apartheid practices to manage after hours access to public townships.

Sadly, while the residents of Kosmos use their historically ill gotten gains to fund their last Apartheid hideaway, they should not be surprised if their con-artist governors and their precious gate, disappear overnight. When the powers than be eventually gets fed-up with the petty racist politics in Kosmos, they will remove a gate that divides much more than the rich and the poor.

One would also hope that the government will bring a legal case against the people who continue to apply their money to maintain a racist establishment.

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