|Publication date: May 2012 - ISBN: 9781599473949|
By Dr. Peter Hammond
During a recent Mission to Mpumalanga, I heard a number of remarkable testimonies of the crime and corruption which is afflicting this country.
Combine Harvester Stolen
A wheat farmer came back from a couple of days travel to find that his combine harvester had been stolen. Without this one million Rand machine, he would not be able to bring in the wheat harvest. But what would any criminal want with a combine harvester? Other than a wheat farmer, who could even use such a machine?
Partners in Crime
When the farmer reported this at the charge office of the local Police Station, the constable on duty handed him a slip of paper and said, here are my bank details. Once you have deposited R60,000 into it, I will see that your machine is returned. The farmer was staggered at the brazenness of this policeman who obviously was well aware of the crime and a partner in it.
As it so happened, there was a police Colonel standing next to the farmer at the time. Although, no one would have recognised that fact because he was in civilian clothes. The officer produced his police identity card and arrested the constable on the spot.
Yet God is at Work
This officer informed the farmer that the corruption throughout the country and even throughout the police force was pandemic. Yet, he pointed, God is still at work. Some time ago, without any authorisation, a police vehicle left a station in Pretoria. It drove towards Durban carrying illicit goods. Completely unrelated, another police vehicle left a station in Durban and headed North, also without authorisation. Its boot was stacked full with illegal drugs. Inexplicably, both vehicles collided in a head-on collision, midway between Pretoria and Durban! The odds against something like that happening must be staggering.
A paramedic reported how he had received an emergency call to resuscitate somebody who had collapsed. On arriving at the address, he found the door open, but no one responding to the doorbell, or knocking. Due to the emergency nature of the call, he rushed into the house searching for whoever it was that needed emergency medical help. At that point, a woman arrived and declared that this was her home and the paramedics had no right to be in there. She also accused them of stealing a thousand Rand cash, which she claimed to have left lying on the table! The paramedics' minds were reeling at the implications of this bizarre turn of events when a police vehicle arrived and they were taken into custody!
At the police station the paramedics were informed that they were better off just paying the woman the thousand Rand, because it would cost them much more to challenge this in court. Just consider the legal fees, he was told. You can count yourself lucky that the woman did not say that it was five or ten thousand Rand on the table! The paramedics felt obligated to pay this woman the thousand Rand demanded, just to avoid the extra expense and complications of challenging this false accusation.
Such extortion inflicted on emergency service personnel, can only result in greater caution and delays in future, even when genuinely life-threatening situations are at stake.
At Mission stations and Bible colleges we have visited we heard more reports of repeated thefts and ruinous robberies. Many of the crimes seem to have had inside help from staff employed from the local communities. That such theft and looting from Christian ministries would only undermine their ongoing service to the wider community, did not seem to concern the perpetrators.
"For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery…" Isaiah 61:8
Corrupt and Inefficient Municipalities
Every community seemed to have complaints of corrupt municipalities who keep charging more and more exorbitant rates and taxes, without delivering any meaningful services, or maintaining the infrastructure of the town.
"But select capable men from all the people - men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain and appoint them as officials…" Exodus 18:21
Dr. Peter Hammond - Africa Christian Action
See also: Corruption and Greed - A Christian Response
An audio CD: Combating Corruption with Integrity by Dr. Peter Hammond is available from Christian Liberty Books, PO Box 358, Howard Place 7450, Cape Town, South Africa, tel: 021-689-7478, email: firstname.lastname@example.org and website: www.christianlibertybooks.co.za.