CIVIL rights initiative AfriForum has called on the government to take “vigorous steps” to stop crime in the country.

In a memorandum handed over after a march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria yesterday, the group stated that South Africans lived in fear “because government has walked away from its primary duty to protect its citizens against violence and crime”.

The memorandum was handed to Mosa Sejosingoe, head of public liaison in the Presidency, who said: “We will give the information to the Office of the President to let him know about the issues raised.”

Celebrities who took part in the march included Steve Hofmeyr, Bobby van Jaarsveld, Karlien van Jaarsveld and television presenter Rozanne McKenzie.

Participants wore black and white – black symbolising that South Africans were in mourning for every victim of violent crime, and white symbolising a peaceful march for peace.

The march was arranged in response to the murder of five-month-old Wiehan Botes and his minder Magrietha de Goede, 66, in Delmas last month.

The group said in the memorandum that the government’s efforts to eradicate crime had been negligible.

“It would appear to us that government simply lacks the political will to secure the safety of South Africans and all her people,” it said.

“It may be that (President Jacob Zuma finds) it hard to spot the grief, tears and blood from your countrymen from… the safety of (his) armoured cars, or past the shoulders of (his) bodyguards or (over his) high security walls.”

AfriForum’s head of community affairs, Cornelius Jansen van Rensburg, said: “AfriForum, as an organisation, has the sole aim of defending the civil rights of South Africans and (fighting) the impact of crime, especially violent crime, on the people.”

Jansen van Rensburg said that with prominent personalities such as musicians and actors promoting such movements, there would be a greater chance of the government sitting up and listening.

Hofmeyr said: “For 20 years I’ve toured South Africa.

“I stay with people on farms and I come back and these people are missing. It’s that first-hand experience, or at least meeting the people who have that first-hand experience, that makes it important to me.”