Louis Theroux: Law and Disorder in Johannesburg

British TV presenter Louis Theroux (son of Paul) parachuted into South Africa again, this time for the BBC, to look at the policing of crime in Johannesburg. The film focuses on the private security business, mainly the controversial Mapogo a Mathamaga, who mete out violence on the spot to suspected criminals (“an African solution to an African problem,” says a farmer who has Mapogo on retainer). It also covers the clearly criminally compromised Bad Boyz, who “reclaims and secures

buildings that have been taken over, or hijacked, by criminal gangs who illegally take rent from tenants,” the notorious Red Ants who evict residents on behalf of the local municipality and by private owners, and residents who execute criminals in a poor neighborhood (“people are killed like chickens,” says a local).

Louis, showing his extraordinary bravery, speaks to one criminal who goes into what how he extorts money, by attacking people’s children, sticking people’s heads in ovens, holding knives to necks… the list went on… but in all of this, Theroux didn’t go all Daily Mail on us, but rather, recognised the dire situation that showed a futile and dire situation that created more victims than victors, with a people who had completely lost faith with the official police force.

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