South Africa crime in focus after television reporter mugged on camera

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Two men, one armed with a gun, were caught on camera late on Tuesday mugging a South African journalist in Johannesburg as he prepared for a live television report on Zambian President Edgar Lungu's hospital treatment.

The incident is just one of scores of often violent crimes, including rape, robberies and murder recorded every day in Africa's most advanced economy, earning it a place among the most violent countries in the world outside a war zone.

The video, which went viral on the Internet, shows the men pacing around reporter Vuyo Mvoko while he speaks to the camera outside the hospital, before a scuffle ensues, and then Mvoko is heard shouting: "Hey, we're being mugged."

Mvoko was reporting on the arrival of Zambia's Lungu, 58, at a Johannesburg hospital for medical tests after he fell ill at the weekend with a suspected narrowing of the food pipe.

"He was looking for the phone and when I wasn't giving him the phone, he calls the other one who has a gun, to say: 'shoot this dog' or something like that," Mvoko, who works for the national broadcaster, told radio station 702 on Wednesday. "So I gave him the phone."

Police spokeswoman Colonel Noxolo Kweza was not available for comment, but the government condemned the attack. "Government has intensified the fight against crime to protect the rights of citizens ... and will continue in its efforts to reduce crime to ensure that all people who live in South Africa are, and feel safe."

The mugging came a day after a popular South African hip hop artist Nkululeko Habedi was killed when his girlfriend allegedly stabbed him on Monday, according to police.

Last year, South Africa's football association launched a gun control campaign in the wake of the high profile shootings of the national team captain Senzo Meyiwa, and model Reeva Steenkamp who was killed in 2013 by her Paralympic boyfriend Oscar Pistorius.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.