Sarah Britten
Sarah Britten

South African criminals have so much to teach the world

This weekend, news in Australia was enlivened by “>revelations of an attempted ATM robbery in Brisbane. In the dead of night on July 26, the Bank of Queensland branch was torn apart by an explosion that damaged nearby stores and threw the ATM into the footpath. The criminals escaped empty-handed and police suspect that at least one of them was injured in the explosion.

It was quite pathetic, really. With the resources boom, Australian criminals should have easy access to commercial explosives.

The only excuse the Australians could possibly offer is inexperience in this new technique. Using explosives to break into ATMs is quite new in Oz, in contrast to South Africa, where criminals have ATM robberies down to a fine art. By July 12 this year, it was reported that no less than 292 ATMs across the land had been bombed, with the crime up 3 000% in the past three years; Johan Burger of the Institute for Security Studies said that the bombings were sophisticated and that the individuals involved in them clearly had a military background.

Perhaps the criminals of Queensland could issue a couple of 457 visas for them. Their skills are clearly needed.

  • vlad

    Military background? An almost throwaway comment but where would it lead you to if you followed it?

    Anyway, SA bombers aren’t completely expert – I’m sure some have blown themselves up or lost their arms.

    But the professionals don’t steal the actual banknotes, instead they – get into government, take over the reserve bank, inflate the money supply, and divert a chunk of it to Switzerland.

  • Scarface

    Mmmm, I don’t think AUSSIE $ is that usable if you are a Zimbabwean citizen, shop owner or Member of Parliament, or the Zimboonian President.

  • Geejay

    Apparently 70% of the ATM’s that get blown up in SA don’t get robbed. So clearly these criminals were formerly employed at Military intelligence.

  • CG

    vlad: there was an ATM bombing in Gauteng last week and among the suspects arrested at the time were a member of the SADF and the SAPS.

  • Oosthuizen

    As if crime is so new to Oz (convict Island). Yes it does happen here in Oz as well. Always wondered what what makes crime in SA so special ? In oz, People still die as a result of vicious and cold blooded attacks.

    Sarah, not sure what so you trying to achieve by making the ozzie seem like an amature in crimminal activity ? Crime is not new in Oz and maybe if you emerge from your cocoon you will realise that Australia is a lot bigger and perhaps more dangerous than your little world situated south of the hawkesbury river and east of the blue mountains.

  • Sarah Britten

    Well, I suppose the message is: if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.

  • http://yahoo Martha

    .. why is it that “we” can be so synical about something so VERY scary and serious?

  • Ntombizonke Mehlomakulu

    So what Sarah! Any solutions instead of Statistics?

  • Ali

    Ag lighten up Oosthuizen and Martha (and use a spelling checker). It’s a joke. The Aussies have to be bad at something…

  • Antony in Perth

    Oosthuizen, perhaps a quick comparison might enlighten you.
    Australia – 20 000 population,300 murders a year
    South Africa – 40 000 population – 600 murders a year? nope – 20 000 murders a year… nope, crime is not the same in Aus, far from it.

  • Ric


    It seems as if you are disillusioned!
    You seem to use the Australian criminals “lack of experience” in ATM bombings as a crutch that crime is not really a problem over there!

    Shame you poor little racist – you just cannot help but spew venom at South Africa in the hopes that it will quell or justify your guilt of benefitting from a SIN AGAINST HUMANITY!!

  • BS

    As a nation of criminals, I’d have thought the Australians would be world-beaters at this.

  • Jeff

    Just because someone tells it as it is doesn’t mean they are racist. Or even if they are racist and lived under apartheid that they suffer from guilt.
    Sarah wrote a lighthearted little piece and you getting your knickers in a knot. Lighten up a little. Even if you don’t think crime is a lighthearted matter I don’t see where racism enters into it.

  • Oosthuizen

    Antony of that 20 000 how many do you personally know. I’m pretty sure that you could not give a damn for most of those who have died under horrendous and vicious circumstances but statistics probaly does give your anti-SA, anti-black platform some support.

    where was your voice in the “good ole” days of apartheid when crime was rampant and then already the menace to society, when the police turned a blind eye to crime because they focused soley on those who spoke up about the brutal injustice and corruption of the apartheid government ? Where was your voice and the many other johnny-come-lately prophets of doom preaching about crime ?

  • Sarah Britten

    Ric: having read Heidi Holland’s piece about SA being one giant psychiatric ward, I will nod ot myself and say, shame, he’s got issues, he needs to see a therapist.

    Who will hopefully point him to a 12 step process to getting a sense of humour.

  • mundundu

    it’s funny, your post reminds me of the notice on kryptonite bike locks.

    if you use a kryptonite bike lock, and your bike stillg ets stolen, the company will replace the bike anywhere in the world… except new york.

    new yorkers took a perverse pride in this: we have brighter criminals!

  • Cool Down

    Good heavens Oosthuizen
    Are you for real.I spend 6 years of my life
    working in various black townships during the
    height of apartheid and experienced far less
    crime than we have today.I was suprised how
    much goodwill existed among people although
    life in some townships left much to be desired.
    Murder rate ,verified,during apartheid years
    7000 p.a.
    You don’t have to know all the victims oersonally
    just to see their faces splashed all over our
    dailies is enough.The fact that we are now
    the second highest murder rate country in the
    world is nothing to be proud of,liberated or not.

  • Ali


    I must say, very few people, white or black, will agree with you that crime was as bad before the end of apartheid as it is today. Even if we acknowledge that statistics were not reliable under apartheid.

    Sure, some racists might use this fact as an argument to make black people look bad, but it doesn’t change the fact!

    Crime is a very real and bad problem in SA.

  • Ric

    Sarah: Your venom is by no means hidden by the humour you profess that your article is intended to convey.

    I conclude therefore that not only are you a bitter racist but a cunning one at that!

    This you know about yourself!

  • Odette

    @ Sarah

    I think you should keep some kind of knicker-knotting counter. You seem to inspire spontaneous knocker-knotting without even trying. You’re fast becoming a role model. :-)

    Keep it up. I crack up reading some of the outraged responses to your posts.

  • Odette

    Oops…Freudian slip

    I meant “knicker-knotting” not “knocker-knotting”…which would be quite painful and physically impossible for most.

  • gary

    it amazes me the ‘ redneck ‘ responses ‘ this poor journalist has to rerad.
    SA is a terrible crime spot at present , a life is not even worth a stupid cellphone , my late Mom was held up at 69 yrs of age . a gun put to her head and they pulled the trigger.
    In order to fix a problem , acknowledge you have one
    look at the late sheldon cohen – what a mess of a beautiful land !

  • Sarah Britten

    Indeed, knocker-knotting is only possible if your knockers are down to your navel (I recall that tasteless Land Rover ad that caused such a skande in the late 1990s).

    Ric, I am so pleased that you think I am cunning. This is the same word a lot of people use to describe Jacob Zuma, so I can only assume that being cunning is a Good Thing.

  • Richard P

    Ric, you are a humourless and one-eyed pillock.

  • Sarah Britten

    Knocker-knotting would be painful indeed, and you’d need knockers down to your knees to accomplish it.

  • Oosthuizen

    @Cool Down

    Quote:”Are you for real.I spend 6 years of my life
    working in various black townships during the
    height of apartheid and experienced far less
    crime than we have today.”

    Okay your struggle credentials have been noted, but how does 6 years employment in a township make you the expert on crime in townships pre 1994, as compared to the thousands of township dwellers who state that crime is not new to them. I find this very late outcry on SA crime an insult in the face of millions who had to daily deal with horrendous crimminal activity long before 1994. Ask the millions of township dwellers today if crime is a high priority to them and check the worn out indifferent attitude to crime, simply because they had to battle with the problem on their own for many decades, with very little success.

    Worry about crime in SA ?
    sorry, too little too late.

  • Tash Joseph

    Odette, an inspired idea! Sarah – I can only imagine the nifty little “knocker-knotting” icon you could create as a hit counter…

    Ric, is Sarah so cunning that you only have to put a tail on her to call her a fox?

  • Ric

    I in no way will “Kill for Zuma” – so I hope you were not waiting for me to unleash this threat upon you!

    Your inference that I am a die hard supporter of JZ or of his ilk is crafty indeed. Which again proves my point about you being cunning.

    I prefer to liken you to those that have the cunning & guile to subjugate a people for almost 400 years – this is more apt comparison for you than that with JZ.Hence you find yourself at home in Australia.

    Richard P:
    Let me save you the effort of a response by quoting from your own repertoire :
    “Don’t play the race card”
    “Take that chip of your shoulder”
    “Two wrongs don’t make a right”

  • Sarah Britten

    No inference intended Ric. You do have a distressing habit of reading far too much into what people write. In psychological terms, this is known as “projection”.

  • Ric

    Come now Sarah
    I expect more substance from you -rather than cheap pop psychology!

  • Richard P

    And what exactly is that meant to say to me, Ric?

    You seem to belong to the “all expats are racists” school of thought.

  • Richard P

    “his ilk”: how very Sarth Efrikin

  • Odette

    Thanks Tash!

    @ Sarah

    I think you should create a little logo of a knotted knicker for your knicker-knotter counter. (Now say that quickly three times.)

    There is one issue you still haven’t addressed Sarah. What is up with the “tart” accusation from Wendy. Is there any truth to it? C’mon Sarah, you’re amongst friends. You can tell us. Enquiring minds want to know.

  • Sarah Britten

    I am not sure where the tart accusation comes from. But if I am a tart, I hope I am at least a good quality tart in the display window of a good quality brasserie, rather than a cheap one.

  • cori

    Oh grow up everybody, I love SA and I love Aus.
    Why is everyone so hung up on comparing why they left etc etc. I choose to live in Aus but while in Aus I also tell people about how wonderful Africa is to visit. So grow up all of you. I just happen to have kids and I am making plans for the future
    If SA could just get rid of all electric fences
    and have proper people to govern I would be back there in a shot. Viva Africa! Viva Australia. I love you both