Crisis On The Cape Flats Caused By Decades of Social Engineering

Most people, including Helen Zille, place the blame of the drug related gang warfare on the Cape Flats at the feet of, well, you guessed it, drugs and alcohol. But why would drug-related gangsterism affect only a portion of the Western Cape population, if drugs and alcohol are available everywhere? It doesn’t make sense.

The drug related warfare on the Cape Flats are the result of decades of failed social engineering by the central planners in government. The Cape Flats are known as the “dumping ground of Apartheid” for a reason.

The government designed the Cape Flats – by locating factories and transport routes amongst other things – in such a way that white and non-whites would not mingle. It was all part of the socialists’ great scheme of racial segregation.

Then, add to this laws that prevented non-whites from freely competing for white jobs, and a policy of providing public education and housing of a lower quality than in the white areas, and policy that prevented the investment by whites in non-white areas that would have provided jobs and increased the general standard of living in the Cape Flats, and you get a marginalised community.

Then, the government started the war on drugs and criminalised the act of buying and selling drugs, while not extinguishing the demand to use drugs. The marginalised community naturally took the opportunity to earn an income by entering the newly created ‘black’ market to manufacture, distribute and market drugs. Because it was now an illegal industry in the eyes of government law, the suppliers of drugs had to fly under the radar, and to do so, formed covert alliances of members, commonly known as gangs. In other words, underground gangs were a natural consequence of the government’s war on drugs. All gangs are generally in the business of supplying substances banned by government.

Areas of marginalised, unemployed, and disillusioned youths are the recruiting grounds for gangs, which is why the Cape Flats remains a hot bed for gang related crime. Because profit margins in the drug industry, as in all ‘black’ markets, are much higher than in other sectors of the economy, these gangs pay good money to recruit these youths.

To snip a long story short: the current state of the Cape Flats (50% unemployment, gang violence, poverty) is a result of a long history of social engineering.

The first step toward reversing the gang related violence in the Cape Flats is to legalise the retail of hard drugs like cocaine, heroine, and tik. Let pharmacies sell these items. These drugs are no different to other drugs like antibiotics and coffee being sold, and gangs don’t fight over territorial rights to sell cholesterol drugs. The minute the selling and buying of drugs are legalised, gangs would lose their main source of revenue, and as a result, its power and influence.

Helen Zille’s proposal that the army intervene to stop gang violence in the Cape Flats is the typical statist reaction to problems created by statist central planning: more state intervention. All that will happen is that because there will be extremely lucrative offers from the gang lords to key members of the army to be on their side, deploying the army will likely result in an alliance between gangs and key army members being formed that cements the position of the most powerful existing gangs in the Cape Flats. In so doing, competition amongst gangs could be eliminated and the degree of inter-gang violence may diminish. But the underlying social problems will remain, and flare up again at another point in some other way.


About Chris Becker

Chris Becker is Market Strategist and Economist at ETM Analytics. Becker is Co-Founder of the Mises Institute South Africa. Visit his personal blog Follow him on twitter @chrislbecker.
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  • ina

    Excellent article.

  • MarleyMarx

    Could you elaborate as to why you refer to the capitalist-fascist Apartheid Regime as “socialist”?