What Are the Causes of Crime in South Africa?

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Most South Africans believe that the major cause of crime in South Africa is poverty. However, recent studies suggest that social structures emerging from the apartheid era may actually be the primary driving force for many of the crimes within the nation.

South Africa is a country with a very turbulent political history. This has had a tremendous ongoing effect on the socioeconomic structure of a nation with significant wealth divides that statistically favor whites over blacks. While it has been believed for many years that most crime in South Africa is the result of the desperate poor, the rise in white collar crime has brought that idea into question. Gangs have taken a stronghold among both the poor and wealthy in South Africa in recent years. It is believed that the rise in gang involvement among all classes may be a direct response to the rampant violence throughout the country. Gang involvement provides members with social acceptance as well as protection, two key things that many South Africans have struggled to find. Crime may be a way of testing the strength of the social ties between gang members as well as for one gang to assert its power over another.