The sorry image of the police running away from the marauding mob in the Johannesburg CBD sent a strong message to the world about the current state of affairs. 

Such an image inspires fear, not confidence, in ordinary people and foreign investors. It says the ship has no skipper.

We are becoming used to such images. The perception, right or wrong, that our country is slowly drifting nowhere is not helped by police tardiness in making arrests. Yet Gauteng premier David Makhura thinks the police did a good job by running away.

The reality is that the Johannesburg CBD is SA’s 10th province. It has its own laws, and mayor Herman Mashaba can moan and groan as much as he likes, he is not in charge. It is the Wild West. 

If I don’t feel secure in my own country, how can I reassure investors and tourists that SA is a safe place for them? A Ukrainian hiker was killed in Cape Town just last week. The gang violence on the Cape Flats has not stopped. Police running away just emboldens the criminals.

Democracy is hollow if citizens feel insecure. Security attracts investors, who create jobs. What happened in the Johannesburg CBD, and the trashing of Pretoria, sends out the wrong message.

Dr Lucas Ntyintyane, Via e-mail