Cape Town - A long-awaited report on the violent nature of crime in South Africa, released on Tuesday, found that the country's history of colonisation and apartheid created a culture where people see resorting to force as normal.
The study was commissioned by the government in 2007 and conducted by the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR). It lists poverty, a weak criminal justice system, the availability of firearms and poor socialisation of the youth as factors that sustain a culture of violence.
It states that 31% of murder suspects in cases where the crime was carried out with criminal intent were 19 years old or younger. In cases where arguments led to murder, 21% of suspects fell into this age group.
Briefing MPs on the report, the CSVR's executive director Adele Kirsten, said South Africans could not ignore the way in which apartheid still influenced all aspects of life, long after the advent of democracy.
'Apartheid remains present'
"(The report) does not imply that a group of people or the nation as a whole is inherently violent. What it wants to say is that, given our history, given our experience of violence... we have begun to see violence as normative. We see it as acceptable to use violence... we see it as legitimate.
SHOOT: In South Africa, abormal levels of violence are considered normal. Really? Not by me. It brings to mind an incident at school. Apparently a teacher had complained to my classmates about my 'attitude' and they then informed me that if I didn't change it they would 'bliksem' me until I did. This is at one of South Africa's most prestigious schools.