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Author RW Johnson says The Messenger's John Fraser has conducted a "silly rant" against Australia. He wrote this letter to The Messenger

Dear Cape Messenger

I read John Fraser's silly rant against Australia with amazement. There is, of course, a lot of ignorant, populist Australia-bashing in the South African press, largely to cater for the feelings of jealousy and envy at watching a country that was once our peer sprint far ahead of us. But there is no need for the Messenger to join in this tabloid nonsense.

If you actually read the Advisory to potential Australian tourists to SA you will see that it is rational, calm and considered. It tells them, truthfully, that SA has a far higher crime and homicide rate than anything remotely experienced in Australia, that strike action is frequently violent and that there is not infrequent civil disorder. For people used to such a well-ordered and peaceable society as Australia, such warnings are both wise and necessary. After all, even people who walk on the slopes of Table Mountain have not infrequently been mugged and sometimes killed. Ordinary Australians are simply not used to the notion that something as harmless as taking a walk can get you robbed, hurt or even killed.

Of course, an over-sensitive ANC Minister like Lindiwe Sisulu will read such an Advisory as an implied put-down, a way of saying Australia is safer and thus better than SA but her indignant demarches to the Australian ambassador and government are simply meant to project the issue into one of "Australian racism" when actually what it is about is the ANC's complete failure in the primary business of government, maintaining proper law and order.

In fact, the Advisory describes the quality of policing in SA as uncertain while most South Africans would use a stronger adjective. And it neglects altogether to tell Aussie tourists to watch out for xenophobic riots or that if they fall foul of the police and don't bribe them enough, some very nasty things happen in South African jails.

R.W. Johnson




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