Crime is Money: South Africa’s

Crime is Money: South Africa’s economy relies on its crime rate

A leading economist claims that crime might actually be good for the economy – but at what cost exactly?

Crime is Money: South Africa’s

A leading economist says that South Africa’s crime issues might actually be beneficial to the country as a whole. Economist Dawie Rodt estimates that up to 20 percent of all economic activity in South Africa could be attributed to informal income opportunities created by crime prevention measures, employing a much larger number of people illegally than unemployment figures may concede.

The country’s precarious crime situation, Rodt says, creates a giant black market economy for opportunity-seekers from car guards to seasonal workers looking for the next job gig while travelling the length and breadth of the country.

Rodt adds that the crime rate across South Africa also leads to widespread official job creation measures – not just for menial workers employed by security firms but also for entrepreneurs, who will gladly tap into this multi-billion Rand market, always leading the way with new innovations and continually changing services offerings.

However, by relying on a sustained crime rate, Rodt also acknowledges that some opportunists might engage in criminal activities just to keep this informal economy going, including individuals in government and those with vested interests in the security sector.

“Ten years back foreigners used to ask me about crime, they’d compare our murder rate and, depending on what source you use, it would be probably have been the highest in the world. So crime was pretty much the first question that they’d ask about. Nowadays when I speak to foreign investors the first thing they speak about to me is corruption,” says Roodt.

Despite the fact that criminality may in some ways benefit the country, victims of crime and corruption are unlikely to be happy about this alleged boost in economic activity.