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SA needs systematic approach to bring down crime

by Nthambeleni Gabara
on 02 Dec 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

A more targeted and systematic approach is needed to tackle the high levels of crime in South Africa, says Safety and Security Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

Speaking at the two-day Anti-Crime Conference in Midrand on Tuesday, Mr Mthethwa said: "What is required is not only that these crimes receive priority and focused attention, but also that we develop a clear programme to address such illegal activities.

"There is a need for a more targeted and systematic approach to bring down the high levels of crime affecting our people."

The first step in developing such a systematic approach was to engage all stakeholders and to discuss the appropriate responses and approaches.

He said it was broadly recognised that crime was one of the key challenges facing South Africa.

The summit was held to devise plans for the intensification and expansion of work that government is already undertaking with various sectors of society to prevent and combat crime, as encouraged in the National Crime Prevention Strategy.

The strategy requires the mobilisation of a broader responsibility and a more proactive approach to crime prevention.

The minister said in order to counter the groups involved in violent crimes, who appear not to be irrational or confused, both government and the public need to be twice as organised with clear plans and approaches.

The minister also spoke about the significance of reshaping the criminal justice system in order to gear the system to meet the challenges posed by both organised and general crime.

"Substantial work has already gone into this process and resources allocated to ensuring its success with particular focus on integrating the different government databases," he said.

Mr Mthethwa said there is also a need to implement approaches which will in the immediate term have an impact on crime levels and which will also lead to communities to having greater faith and confidence in the police.

He said in order to accomplish such immediate action, which would also increase fear amongst the criminals, the country needed to address the crucial areas of reviewing the current safety and security, approaches and strategies within the South African Police Service (SAPS) and strengthening and positioning private public partnerships with the purpose of delivery of tangible crime reduction initiatives.

"In crafting this coordinated SAPS plan of action, we need to be frank about what is working and what requires serious attention and intervention. We need to examine key areas of policing and focus on a few selected areas that will significantly impact on crime," he said.

In this regard there are three key challenges that need to become a focus of any new or revised SAPS approach namely, coordination, communication and accountability.

"Any approach must speak to these three crucial areas and while there may be other aspects of policing that should be incorporated, if we can focus on improving these three fundamental elements of policing, criminals will without doubt be dealt a severe blow," Mr Mthethwa said.

In addressing co-ordination, there is a need to ensure that different components of the police operate as part of a single plan and not in silos.

Government is committed to fight crime all forms of crime and will always seek to improve its crime fighting measures safety and security service delivery.

It is for this reason that government hosted the summit on service delivery improvement to enable community representatives an opportunity to express their views on the efforts that are made in the fight against crime.

The summit that was geared towards understanding the current measures that are to be implemented immediately in the fight against crime and the gaps that need to be addressed, ended on Tuesday. - BuaNews

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