National Crime Prevention Strategy: Summary

1. Why a National Crime Prevention Strategy
2. The aims of the National Crime Prevention Strategy
3. The roots of the current crime situation
4. Approach of the National Crime Prevention Strategy
5. What the NCPS builds on - current actions against crime
6. The four pillar approach to crime prevention - a strategic framework
7. National programmes to prevent crime
Pillar 1: National Programmes - The criminal justice process
Pillar 2: Reducing crime through environmental design
Pillar 3: Public values and education
Pillar 4: Transnational crime
8. Implementing the NCPS: National, provincial and local roles and responsibilities
9. Conclusion

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a short version of the strategy document prepared by an Inter-departmental Strategy Team comprising of the Departments of Correctional Services, Defence, Intelligence, Justice, Safety and Security and Welfare. The full document is available on request from the Department for Safety and Security.

1. Why a National Crime Prevention Strategy

High levels of crime pose a serious threat to our emergent democracy. Violent crime often leads to a tragic loss of life and injury, and the loss of possessions and livelihood due to crime is incalculable. Crime results in the deprivation of the rights and dignity of citizens, and poses a threat to peaceful resolution of differences and rightful participation of all in the democratic process.

Crime casts fear into the hearts of South Africans from all walks of life and prevents them from taking their rightful place in the development and growth of our country. It inhibits our citizens from communicating with one another freely, from engaging in economic activity and prevents entrepreneurs and investors from taking advantage of the opportunities which our country offers.

The rights and freedoms which the constitution entrenches are threatened every time a citizen becomes a victim of crime.

For these reasons, the Government regards the prevention of crime as a national priority. This applies not only to the Cabinet, and the departments concerned with security and justice, but also to all other national departments which are able to make a contribution to a reduction in crime levels. Provincial governments will work together with us to implement the NCPS.

We accept that some of the causes of crime are deeprooted and related to the history and socioeconomic realities of our society. For this reason, a comprehensive strategy must go beyond providing only effective policing. It must also provide for mobilisation and participation of civil society in assisting to address crime.

To effectively reduce crime, it is necessary to transform and reorganise government and facilitate real community participation. We need to weave a new social fabric, robust enough to withstand the stresses of rapid change in a new-born society. To expect this to happen too quickly is to sabotage proper planning and solid construction of a new criminal justice machinery.

Most fundamentally this strategy requires that government moves beyond a mode of crisis management and reaction. Government must ensure that effective planning and sustainable success in reducing crime will reach well into the next century.

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2. The aims of the National Crime Prevention Strategy

The National Crime Prevention Strategy was initiated by the Cabinet in March 1995. The strategy is the result of an extensive process of research and analysis and has drawn on international experiences. Both Business Against Crime and NGO' s concerned with crime prevention have made a substantial contribution to this strategy.

The NCPS has the following objectives:

  • The establishment of a comprehensive policy framework which will enable government to address crime in a coordinated and focused manner which draws on the resources of all government agencies, as well as civil society.
  • The promotion of a shared understanding and common vision of how we, as a nation, are going to tackle crime. This vision should also inform and stimulate initiatives at provincial and local level.
  • The development of a set of national programmes which serve to kick start and focus the efforts of various government departments in delivering quality service aimed at solving the problems leading to high crime levels.
  • The maximisation of civil society's participation in mobilising and sustaining crime prevention initiatives.
  • Creation of a dedicated and integrated crime prevention capacity which can conduct ongoing research and evaluation of departmental and public campaigns as well as facilitating effective crime prevention programmes at provincial and local level.

This National Crime Prevention Strategy is based on a fundamentally new approach by government. In particular, it requires the development of wider responsibility for crime prevention and a shift in emphasis from reactive "crime control"; which deploys most resources towards responding after crimes have already been committed, towards proactive "crime prevention" aimed at preventing crime from occurring at all.

The strategy focuses on a number of challenges. In particular,:

  • Existing crime data is very unreliable and can be misleading. This places a priority on gathering reliable crime information so as to facilitate effective deployment of resources and dynamic strategic planning.
  • Media representations of crime are very influential in shaping public perceptions. These are however, often disproportionately responsive to audible interest groups in society, rather than to less obvious, but important, crime issues. An effective communications strategy, based on reliable information, is important in properly informing public opinion in the fight against crime.

This strategy concentrates on National Programmes and on developing a conceptual framework for crime prevention at all levels. Although committed to the programmes contained herein, the government sees this document as representing a working strategy, which should be refined, changed and improved on the basis of feedback and experience. In particular, provincial summits will be held to develop civil society and provincial government responses to this strategy.

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3. The roots of the current crime situation

This strategy is based on a comprehensive analysis of the present crime situation. In particular, the NCPS strategy team has conducted an in-depth study of the causes of crime. This is based on comparative international research and pays attention to the particular South African factors which underlie high crime levels.

Crime levels in South Africa are affected by many of the same universal factors which manifest themselves in other countries. Our unique situation and history have however contributed to a range of factors specific to our situation. Some of these factors are outlined below:

  • Comparative research, from countries such as the former Soviet Union and Northern Ireland, suggests that all forms of crime increase during periods of political transition. Our own rapid transition had the unintended consequences of breaking down the existing (and illegitimate) mechanisms of social control without immediately replacing them with legitimate and credible alternatives. This weakness has been exacerbated by the historical breakdown of other vehicles of social authority, such as schools, the family and traditional communities.
  • The Government of National Unity inherited, intact, the entire public service, including a raciallybased, disproportionate distribution of Criminal Justice resources. Insufficient and illequipped personnel, combined with outdated systems, and fragmented departments, have contributed to a system that has been unable to cope with the demands created by the need to provide services to all the people of South Africa.
  • The political transition also generated substantial material expectations many of which were largely beyond the immediate delivery capacity of the new government. This has generated frustrated expectations. The very high, and often unrealised, expectations associated with transition have contributed to the justification of crime. In addition, the legitimation of violence associated with political causes has served to decriminalise certain categories of crime related to intergroup conflict or political rivalries. Historical criminalisation of political activity and protest has also contributed to a blurring between legitimate forms of protest and criminal activity.
  • South Africa's violent history has left us with a "culture of violence", which contributes to the high levels of violence associated with criminal activity in South Africa. Violence in South Africa has come to be regarded as an acceptable means of resolving social, political and even domestic conflicts.
  • Historically shaped, poverty and underdevelopment provide key contextual factors in understanding increasing crime levels. Although poverty does not directly lead to higher crime levels, together with a range of other sociopolitical and cultural factors, it contributes to conditions for an increase in crime and the growth of criminal syndicates and gangs.
  • The historic marginalisation of the youth, combined with the slow growth in the job market, has contributed to the creation of a large pool of "at risk"; young people.
  • While economic growth and development are crucial in addressing the factors which lead to crime, poorly managed development can itself contribute to increased crime rates.
  • The problem of rising crime levels has become something of a "political football". The tendency of political parties to use the issue as a vote catcher has resulted in the generation of single-factor causes and solutions to crime and violence. It is vital that the NCPS be seen as both a multi-agency and multi-party approach, and that the widest possible consensus is forged in the approach we adopt to crime.
  • The absence of services to victims of crime means that the negative impact of crime on individual, family and community is largely ignored. Not only does this contribute to the incidence of repeat victimisation, but may lead to retributive violence, or the perpetration of other crimes displaced into the social or domestic arena.
  • The number and easy accessibility of fire-arms is a major contributor to violent crime. The fact that a large proportion of the citizenry is armed serves to escalate the levels of violence associated with robbery, rape and car theft.
  • Gender inequality, both in terms of popular attitudes and the inadequate service offered buy the criminal justice system to women, contributes to the high levels of violence perpetrated against women.

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4. Approach of the National Crime Prevention Strategy

It is important to recognise that there is no single cause of crime in South Africa. The search for single causes will merely lead to simplistic and therefore ineffective solutions. At the same time, different types of crime have different root causes, and hence require different approaches to prevention. The National Crime Prevention Strategy is based on the principle of separate examination of each form of crime. This principle of "dis-aggregation" runs through the NCPS and means that we deal with car hijacking in a way which is quite distinct from corruption, murder or child abuse.

This dis-aggregated examination of different crime types leads to the inevitable conclusion that sustainable prevention can only be achieved through a multi-faceted approach. Crime needs to be tackled in a comprehensive way, which means going beyond an exclusive focus on policing and the Justice system. It means problem-solving to address the causal factors which provide opportunities for crime and limit the likelihood of detection. The framework outlined in this strategy brings a far wider range of solutions to bear on specific crimes, as well as creating roles for a broader range of participants.

In one sense all crime is related, in that the proliferation of petty offences creates a sense of lawlessness, within which the community is more likely to turn a blind eye to much more serious offences. On the other hand it is necessary to focus limited resources on the most important crimes. For this reason we have prioritised seven key crime categories. These crimes currently pose the greatest threat to our citizens and to the prosperity of the country. This prioritisation must be understood in the context of provincial and local differences and should not be cast in stone. Nevertheless, it provides a critical starting point for the more effective utilization of police, prosecutors and limited prison capacity.

The crime categories of particular concern are:

  1. Crimes involving fire-arms which have significantly increased the level of violence associated with crime, thereby increasing physical and psychological costs of crime to society.
  2. Organised Crime, including the organised smuggling of illegal immigrants and narcotics, and gangsterism, serve to generate higher levels of criminality and violence. Since the advent of democracy and the re-integration of South Africa into the international community, we have seen a rapid growth in this form of crime.
  3. White Collar Crime places a burden on the economy and contributes to the prevailing sense of lawlessness
  4. Gender Violence and crimes against children are not only highly prevalent but have a profoundly negative impact on the rights and future well-being of women and children.
  5. Violence associated with inter-group conflict, such as political conflicts, taxi violence and land disputes are unacceptably common in South Africa and pose a threat to democratic tolerance and orderly co-existence.
  6. Vehicle Theft and Hijacking has increased substantially and has contributed to increased levels of fear and insecurity.
  7. Corruption within criminal justice system, contributes to a general climate of lawlessness, and serves to undermine the legitimacy and effectiveness of the criminal justice system.

For all of these categories of crime, immediate prioritisation of departmental resources has already been implemented. These priority crimes are also the focus of the core national programmes which are described in section 6. An outline of some of the most important ongoing actions is presented in section 5 below.

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5. What the NCPS builds on - current actions against crime

The National Crime Prevention Strategy is primarily a long-term programme aimed at creating conditions in which the opportunities and motivation for crime will be reduced, as well as transforming the capacity of the criminal justice system to deal with crime. The National Crime Prevention Strategy is, however, based on an ongoing programme of action which is being implemented by a range of departments.

Current and ongoing actions involve the SAPS, SANDF, National Intelligence Co-ordination Committee and the Departments of Justice, Correctional Services and Welfare. Each of these entities has their own ongoing programme to address crime. The departmental activities are centred on the priority crimes already listed. Some of the actions which are presently underway include:

  • Addressing Crimes involving firearms through an interagency effort to improve the legislative controls of firearms, track smuggling routes and syndicates, cooperate with neighbouring states, tighten controls on state-owned weapons and restrict illegal importation of firearms. In addition, special efforts have been launched to curb the possession of illegal firearms and increase deterrence in dealing with persons charged with firearm related crimes.
  • Organised crime is being targeted through focused intelligence gathering efforts related to organised crime syndicates. Such syndicates are involved in a range of different crime forms and close co-operation between departmental entities working on different facets of organised crime has been prioritised. Activities around specific issues related to organised crime include the implementation of a new approach, based on community collaboration. Strategies have also been developed to deal with gangsterism in certain communities plagued by gangs.
  • White collar crime is being addressed through a multifaceted approach which includes legislation to curb money laundering, special co-operation efforts between police and business as well as a programme by business to develop codes of conduct within the private sector
  • Gender violence and crimes against children are receiving special attention through the establishment of specialised police units to investigate crimes against children and the creation of victim aid centres at which interdisciplinary services are offered to victims of these crimes. In addition, special court facilities which protect young witnesses have been established around the country, and are supported in some areas by prosecutors specialising in these cases. A number of governmental and non-governmental education and awareness programmes exist to educate children to deal with abuse and to raise awareness of gender crimes and crimes against children.
  • Violence associated with inter-group conflict is being addressed through a Presidential task team to address violence in KwaZulu Natal. This team is co-ordinating all intelligence gathering efforts and identifying solutions in areas particularly affected by violence. Operational strategies based on sector policing are aimed at maximising police deployment in affected areas. In addition an intelligence task team is supporting the Cabinet Committee on Taxi Violence and special police units are addressing this issue.
  • Short term strategies to deal with Vehicle theft and hijacking are focused on introducing tracking systems to detect vehicles, partnerships to mobilise the community to assist in locating stolen vehicles and partnerships with civil society which support law enforcement efforts. In addition, a Border Control Unit to address the movement of cars out of the country has been set up and is being supported by additional deployment of SANDF resources in support of roadblocks and cordon and search operations.
  • Corruption within the Criminal Justice System is being addressed by the establishment of police anti-corruption units at National and Provincial level. An Independent Complaints Directorate is being established and will receive and process complaints from the public. Control measures are being implemented to prevent the theft of police dockets in the Justice sector and investigations into corruption are underway in the Department of Welfare. These efforts are being complemented by intelligence projects aimed at uncovering corruption within government more widely.

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6. The four pillar approach to crime prevention - a strategic framework

The government has adopted the four pillar approach as a model which sets out the different areas in which crime prevention should be developed. This model is intended to provide a basis for the development of crime prevention initiatives at provincial and municipal levels, as well as through civil society initiatives.

Framework for the National Crime Prevention Strategy
Criminal Justice Process=Certain and Rapid Deterrence Community Values and Education = Community pressure and public participation in crime prevention Environmental Design = Limit Opportunities and Maximise Constraints Transnational Crime = Regional co-operation, stability and address cross-border crime
Crime Levels

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7. National programmes to prevent crime

Pillar 1: National programmes - the criminal justice process

An effective and legitimate criminal justice system is a vital foundation for crime prevention and the protection of human rights. This pillar will be addressed at a national level by 8 key programmes designed to revamp and energise the criminal justice system as a whole. The key aims of programmes in this pillar are:

  • To increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the criminal justice system as a deterrent to crime and as a source of relief and support to victims.
  • To improve the access of dis-empowered groups to the criminal justice process. These include women, children and victims in general.
  • To focus the resources of the criminal justice system on priority crimes.
  • To forge inter-departmental integration of policy and management, in the interests of co-ordinated planning, coherent action and the effective use of resources.
  • To improve the service delivered by the criminal justice process to victims, through increasing accessibility to victims and sensitivity to their needs.

1.1 Re-engineering of criminal justice process

This programme is aimed at increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the criminal justice process, thus increasing the probability of successful investigation, prosecution and punishment for priority crimes. It aims to reduce the time period which elapses between the reporting of a crime and sentencing, hence improving the deterrent quality of the criminal justice system, as well as enhancing public confidence.

Consultants are busy identifying the most important problem areas and a Cross-cutting Task Group is working to integrate policy and management between police, courts, prisons, and welfare agencies.

Lead agency: Justice, assisted by Safety and Security, Correctional Services, Welfare, private sector and NGO's.

Key actions:

  • Unblock blockages in process between investigation, arrest, prosecution and conviction.
  • Strengthen weak points through designing new systems, training personnel and funding critical leverage points.

1.2 Criminal justice information management

The criminal justice system is essentially information driven. However, existing information systems are outdated, fragmented and sometimes require arduous manual search and retrieval of data. Quality information is essential for investigation, prosecution and sentencing and is crucial in deciding how best to use limited resources. Improved quality and effective use of information are critical factors in enhancing the efficiency of the criminal justice system as a whole and are the objects of this programme.

Lead agency: Safety and Security assisted by Justice, Correctional Services, Welfare, private sector and NGO's.

Key actions:

  • Create networks between departments for data concerning cases, suspects and convicts which will enable shared use of systems, cost saving and improvements in efficiency.
  • Design of data programmes to assist in assessing the effectiveness of different functions within the criminal justice process. This will support better decision-making, resource allocation and strategic planning.

1.3 Crime information and intelligence

Adequate crime information is vital, not only for the effective investigation and prosecution of organised crime syndicates, but as a key resource in developing preventive strategies under pillars 2, 3 and 4. This programme involves focusing resources and improve co-ordination and analysis at all levels. It also involves making more effective use of existing "intelligence".

Lead agency: NICOC (National Intelligence Coordinating Committee), assisted by Justice, Defence, Safety and Security, Correctional Services, Welfare, the South African Secret Service, academic analysts and NGO's who focus on crime trends and syndicates.

Key actions:

  • Increase the analysis of strategic information for crime- prevention purposes.
  • Greater integration of crime data gathered at station level into a comprehensive strategic analysis of criminal trends.
  • Integration of public sources of information and analysis with "intelligence" gathered by other means, and making certain crime intelligence more widely available to facilitate local initiatives and community empowerment.

1.4 Prosecutorial Policy

The investigative and prosecutorial priority placed on different offences, is a key factor in the effective use of resources. In order to optimise investigative and court capacity, as well as to build public confidence, a clear prosecutorial policy is required. This policy will rest with the Attorneys General (AG's) and it is vital that this programme should not impinge on the independence of the Judiciary.

Lead agency: Justice, in collaboration with AG's, Law Commission and the Department of Safety and Security.

Key actions:

  • Establishment of guidelines to place more emphasis on priority crimes and ensure that the needs of special interest groups are met.
  • Improvement and control of linkages between police and prosecutors to improve efficiency, within the bounds of police impartiality and judicial independence.

1.5 Appropriate community sentencing

Available correctional resources must be used in a targeted way to deal more effectively with serious offenders. The imposition of prison sentences on minor offenders reduces the likelihood of re-integration into society and further burdens the criminal justice system. lncreasing the availability of community sentencing options on conviction increases humane treatment of minor offenders and will improve the effectiveness of corrections more widely by reducing the burden on the correctional services department. This will also reduce recidivism within this sector.

Lead agency: Correctional Services, assisted by Welfare, the Department of Safety and Security, Justice, the Law commission and NGO's involved with offender rehabilitation.

Key actions:

  • Development of criteria in line with the priority crimes described above and guidelines for sentencing which are canvassed with the Judiciary.
  • Review and upgrade existing community sentencing options and examine the potential roles of community service providers in this regard.

1.6 Diversion programme for minor offenders

The criminal justice system is enormously costly and often inappropriate for dealing with petty offenders, particularly juveniles, where stigmatisation can pose an intolerable burden on the normal developmental path to responsible adult citizenship. This programme aims to divert petty offenders and juveniles out of the criminal justice system.

Lead agency: Welfare, assisted by the departments of Correctional Services, Justice, Defence, Safety and Security and non-governmental organisations concerned with child welfare and the rehabilitation of offenders.

Key Actions:

  • Extend existing capacity for diversion on the basis of agreed national guidelines and criteria.
  • Develop standardised referral system, in consultation with Attorneys General and South African Police Service.

1.7 Secure care for juveniles

Youthful offenders suspected of serious offences should not be held in standard prison or police cells. They do, however, need to be held securely, in an environment which limits unnecessary trauma and strengthens the likelihood of eventual re-integration into society. This requires the creation of special secure care facilities for young suspects and convicts.

Lead agency: Welfare, through the interministerial committee on Young People at Risk, which includes the department of Justice, Safety and Security and Correctional Services. This team will be assisted by other key departments such as Public Works, NGO's and the Private Sector.

Key actions:

  • Speed up the completion or conversion of necessary buildings .for Secure Care Facilities for juveniles.
  • Implement legislative steps and social programmes to discourage the exploitation of juveniles by criminal syndicates.

1.8 Rationalisation of legislation

In the past, legislation which relates to crime prevention has not been co-ordinated in a coherent programme. This programme is aimed at improving and streamlining the development of legislation required to improve crime prevention. It is aimed at ensuring that legislation address the protection of special interest groups, including women and children.

Lead agency: Justice, supported by Safety and Security the South African Law Commission, the relevant portfolio committees of the National Assembly.

Key actions:

  • Review the progress of all legislation promoted by a departments which will contribute to crime prevention.
  • Speed up the preparation of key legislation which is necessary in supporting crime prevention efforts.

1.9 Victim Empowerment Programme

Recognition of the role and rights of victims are vital in addressing the effects of crime and creating crime-resistant communities. This programme is aimed at making the criminal justice process more victim-friendly minimising the negative effects of crime on its victims. This empowerment of victims is aimed at creating a greater role for victims in the criminal justice process, as well as providing protection against repeat victimisation.

Lead agency: Welfare, supported by Health, Safety & Security, Justice, Local Health authorities and service groups.

Key actions:

  • Extend training to police and justice officials which introduces greater victim sensitivity, as well as referral to other service providers to address the effects of crime.
  • Implement a victim support programme, based on surveys of victims' experiences of the criminal justice system.
  • Provide basic information to complainants and victims regarding the progress of all cases, as well as key information which enables victims to lay complaints more easily.

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Pillar 2: Reducing crime through environmental design

The high incidence of many forms of crime is due to an environment which provides ample opportunities for crime, and where risks of detection, or prosecution are low. This pillar will extend the development of security-based design of residential areas buildings and shopping centres. Ultimately the objective of this pillar is to ensure that safety and crime prevention considerations are applied in the development of all new structures and systems, and in the re-design and upgrading of old areas.

The objectives of this pillar are:

  • To encourage awareness of the possibilities of environmental design in reducing and preventing crime.
  • To promote the use of environmental designs in new areas including in the design of delivery systems, the organisation of industries and accounting systems.

The four initial national programmes covered here exist in areas where the needs are well established. These are by no means exhaustive and it is envisaged that other programmes will be initiated in the near future, at national, provincial and at local level.

2.1 Environmental design and maintenance

While environmental design to reduce crime is not new, no integrated policy has existed on this matter. Active support is required for the development of greater awareness and capacity in the field of environmental crime prevention. The importance of maintaining of existing infrastructure and services in high risk areas must also be strengthened through incentives and policy direction from all levels of government.

Lead agency: Safety and Security, supported by Sport and Recreation, Trade and Industry, Home Affairs, Justice, Health, Welfare, Provincial and Local Government and professional associations such as architects, town planners and the security industry, as well as development agencies and non-governmental organisations.

Key actions:

  • Establish institutional capacity to research, advise and monitor environmental design within the private sector and to develop an environmental design policy for government.
  • Examine the need for greater regulation of business sectors involving high-value commodities which fuel the development of crime.

2.2 Identification system

The existence of a functional system of citizen identification is an important. enabling condition for effective governance. It also provides an important underlying resource for regulation and law enforcement. The effectiveness of the new ID system in crime prevention applications requires both that service providers utilise the national ID system as a safety check, and that clear guidelines are developed to prevent abuse of the system from impinging on the rights of citizens.

Lead agency: Home Affairs, supported by Safety and Security, Justice, Transport, Service Providers and the Private Sector.

Key actions:

  • Establish mechanisms for law enforcement agencies to access the National ID system where required.
  • Speed up the Implementation of a new ID system which utilises an Automated Fingerprint Identification System, as well as the implementation of a network which allows "on-line"checking of ID validity.
  • Facilitate education and publicity on the applications of this ID system for private and public service providers.

2.3 Motor vehicle regulation

High levels of motor vehicle theft are linked to the ease with which stolen vehicles can be sold for parts, or re-registered as new vehicles. In support of police action, it is vital to reduce the ease with which this commodity is recycled into cash. This could be achieved through the introduction of a universal Motor Vehicle Parts marking system, as wall as an improved licensing system, and through other measures which have yet to be assessed.

Lead agency: Safety and Security, supported by Transport, Trade and Industry, Provincial and Local Traffic Authorities. Civil Society bodies such as the Automobile Association and Business Against Crime the Taxi Industry and the panelbeating industry also have a key role to play.

Key actions:

  • Establish consensus with role players on major prevention initiatives in respect of vehicle crime.
  • Speed up the Implementation of a new Licensing System.
  • Improve the co-ordination and co-operation between all role-players involved in the Motor Vehicle sector.

2.4 Corruption and commercial crime

White collar crime, corruption within government, and serious economic offences involve huge resources and impose a great burden on government and business. Extensive white collar crime complements organised crime and helps to promote a sense of lawlessness. This programme involves initiatives to strengthen internal regulations and control, and steps to uncover hidden crime the public and private sector.

Lead agency: Safety and Security, supported by Justice, the Independent Complaints Directorate, Intelligence agencies, the Departments of Finance, Trade and Industry, The Public Service Commission and Public Protector, Private Sector, Professional and Consumer bodies and the Committee on Harmful Business Practises.

Key actions:

  • Establish consensus on codes of conduct for business and government, with regard to white collar crime and corruption.
  • Speed up the implementation of legislation to restrict money laundering.
  • Provide a government/civil society resource on trends and information required to address corruption.

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Pillar 3: Public values and education

The prevailing moral climate within communities, attitudes towards crime, and the willingness of citizens and communities to take responsibility for crime are critical factors in reducing tolerance towards crime, and hence reducing crime levels. This pillar covers strategies aimed at intervening in the way in which society engages with and responds to crime and conflict. Given fiscal constraints, it is vital to improve public information and harness greater citizen responsibility and involvement in crime prevention.

This pillar aims to:

  • Improve public understanding of the Criminal Justice System, to enable fuller participation
  • Enhance crime awareness to underpin the development of strong community values and social pressure against criminality.
  • To promote nonviolent conflict resolution, awareness of gender issues and the empowerment of sectors prone to victimisation.

3.1 Public education programme

Public awareness of the causes and implications of crime, including the purchase of stolen property is a key factor in crime prevention. This programme involves the development of a focused, needs-based public education programme, which aims to alter public attitudes and responses to crime and to activities which support crime. It is also vital in forging a national vision around crime prevention.

Lead agency: Safety and Security, supported by the South African Communication Service, Justice, Welfare, Correctional Services, Health, Business Against Crime, Organised Labour, Religious Groups and NGO's. Provincial and Local government and local community groups are also key role-players in this area.

Key Actions:

  • The launch of a National Public Education programme on crime.
  • Liaison with provinces to initiate provincial and local public education programmes.
  • A comprehensive internal education programme for officials within various government departments, in order to provide a basis for the dynamic implementation of the NCPS as a whole.

3.2 School-based education against crime

The school is a key arena in which attitudes, values and life skills are developed. Formal schooling provides an opportunity for the creation of responsible and empowered citizenship at an early age. By providing a basic grounding in the workings of the criminal justice system as well as key life skills which build confidence and provide ammunition to deal with victimisation, this programme aims eventually to create new relations between citizens and to facilitate the administration of justice.

Lead agency: Education, Correctional Services, Justice, Welfare (Youth at Risk Committee), Safety and Security, Home Affairs, Health, Provincial Education authorities and NGO's

Key actions:

  • The development of a pilot schools curriculum and the selection of pilot schools across the country.
  • The production of materials for teacher training and classroom facilitation.

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Pillar 4: Transnational crime

International and regional criminal syndicates have a large influence in promoting crime in South Africa. The movement of people and commodities across national borders poses a significant challenge to law enforcement in the region.

This Pillar aims to:

  • Restrict the smuggling of commodities across borders through better regulation of ports of entry and border zones.
  • Mobilise and coordinate border policing resources in Southern Africa.
  • Improve coordination between South African agencies responsible for border regulation, the control of ports of entry, the implementation of immigration policy.
  • Prioritise the deployment of intelligence capacity, to focus on regional movements and methods employed by crime syndicates.

The emphasis on trans-national crime must be complemented by an integrated regional development strategy which aims to reduce the huge disparities in income in the region.

4.1 Transnational organised crime

The bulk of trans-national crime involves organised syndicates which are a major contributor to the increase in general crime levels. South Africa has become a recent target for organised crime, because of its relative affluence and the relative weakness of regulation of movement of people and goods across regional borders. This programme will focus both South African and regional law enforcement and intelligence resources on trans-national organised crime.

Lead agency: Safety and Security, Trade and Industry, Foreign Affairs, Defence, National Intelligence Co-ordinating Committee, Justice, Inter-state Defence and Security Committee(lSDSC), South African Secret Service, Home Affairs and the South African Revenue Service (SARS) .

Key actions:

  • Activation of the structures of the ISDSC to provide for regional intelligence and security co-ordination.
  • Forge tight co-operation between agencies working with cross-border transactions and tariffs.

4.2 Border control and ports of entry

Inadequate regulation of land and sea borders and national air space, combined with poorly regulated ports of entry, create easy opportunities for criminal activity. Large-scale illegal immigration has received the most public attention, although its contribution to crime levels is probably overrated. Nevertheless it warrants closer attention through this programme which aims to improve controls over cross border movements of persons and goods to enable detection of cross-border crime.

Lead agency: Safety and Security, Defence, Trade and Industry, Justice, Foreign Affairs, National Intelligence Coordinating Committee, South African Secret Service, Home Affairs and the South African Revenue Service (SARS).

Key actions:

  • Integrate the workings of the five agencies involved with regulation of ports of entry.
  • Manage the effective implementation of the Aliens Control Act of 1995. Activation of the structures of the ISDSC to provide for regional intelligence and security co-ordination.

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8. Implementing the NCPS: National, provincial and local roles and responsibilities

This NCPS strategy document provides sufficient detail to underpin the implementation of the NCPS as a part of the Growth and Development Strategy.

Implementation will be on the basis of the following principles:

  • Crime prevention cannot be tackled by government alone, or by one sector of government alone. It requires an integrated, multi-agency approach where all relevant departments view crime prevention as a shared responsibility and collective priority;
  • Substantially increased expenditure on security is not possible. Rather, the strategy should comprise distinct, effectively driven, critical programmes that focus on removing blockages, boosting the system, and synergising departmental contributions. This requires a new, more integrated approach from government and several of the national programmes are designed to give effect to closer co-ordination;
  • Developing effective prevention strategies requires the identification and analysis of the range of factors that give rise to each crime problem;
  • Primary responsibilities for the implementation of the strategy rests with line departments at various levels of government. In this regard, existing capacity within line departments must be prioritised to meet the overall objectives of the NCPS. This may require the development of new capacity and the use of outside resources and expertise;
  • Consultation with civil society around crime prevention should aim to give effect to the contribution that can potentially be made from civil society.

8.1 National roles and responsibilities

The Ministry for Safety and Security has been tasked with ensuring the success of the NCPS. Several mechanisms, which involve the Directors General of national departments, appropriate Ministers, as well as support structures, are being established to review departmental plans in order to ensure that the necessary planning, budgeting and the redirection of resources takes place in support of the NCPS.

The Directors General will also be responsible for monitoring implementation of the various aspects of the NCPS and reporting progress to their Ministers.

The NCPS Co-ordinating mechanism will be responsible for communicating the NCPS, both within government and publicly. Such communication is vital if all the role-players are to play their roles in this vital project.

8.2 Provincial roles

It is the view of the National Government that Provincial Government has a key role to play, both in the development of provincial crime prevention strategies, as well as in the mobilising of multi-agency and citizen resources in aid of crime prevention efforts.

Provincial Summits are being organised in each province, and will provide an anchor point both for the development of considered feedback on the NCPS, and the development of integrated provincial plans based on the National Strategy.

Close co-ordination and joint planning is necessary between the national mechanisms and the provinces. These will be co-ordinated through the Inter-Governmental Forum as well as through various MINMEC fora.

8.3 Local government roles

Recognising that local authorities, especially those in urban areas, have a central role to play in crime prevention, local governments will be encouraged both to review and refine this NCPS, and to implement local crime prevention programmes.

The exact strategies and mechanisms that local governments adopt should be based on local crime prevention priorities and should preferably fit within the four pillar framework set out in this document.

It is vital that local government structures acquire the necessary skills to engage with crime prevention issues and develop the required capacity to drive crime prevention projects.

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9. Conclusion

The National Crime Prevention Strategy represents a turning point in the battle against crime. This strategy is a truly South African product, which is rooted in the reality of our society. For it to fully succeed it requires the support of all South Africans who no longer wish to be victims or to live in fear.

The strategy is based on the view that we need to build a new society, rather than simply normalise something which was never normal. The magnitude of the challenge should not be under-estimated. It requires commitment, clarity of vision and leadership from within all national government institutions, provincial and local government, and participation by civil society.

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