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Stronger justice system will help combat crime

It’s time to rebuild crime-fighting institutions which were rendered ineffective by the Zuma administration

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) calls for the strengthening of the police crime intelligence unit, specialised policing units such as the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority as an essential element to address the frightening crime in South Africa.

OUTA believes that the corruption of the Zuma administration – which saw both the widespread tolerance for corruption and the deliberate hijacking of crime and justice institutions – had a direct effect on the rise in serious crime, as was indicated in the recent release of the crime statistics. This is particularly the case regarding organised violent crime, which is reflected in the spike in cash-in-transit attacks and bank robberies.

“The hollowing out of key crime-fighting institutions has a ripple effect. The increase in serious crimes is a direct result of Zuma rendering the NPA and Hawks ineffective,” says OUTA CEO Wayne Duvenage.

Over the past year OUTA has had to go to court to demand that these key institutions do their job. The burden on civil society to keep these institutions in check is costly and requires the support of the public.

While the SAPS crime statistics again omitted statistics on corruption cases, a reply to Parliament from the Minister of Police, published today, gives some indication of the size of the problem. The Minister’s reply (RNW1659) indicates that during 2017/18, there were 1 970 corruption cases opened. There were 22 497 corruption cases reported in the last 14 years to the SAPS and Hawks, with a third of those reported in the last three years. The reply is not clear however, this appears to refer to all the corruption cases reported to the police and Hawks.

OUTA calls for the SAPS to release the full statistics on the corruption cases. Corruption is a crime against good governance and the massive extent of this problem is one of the biggest threats facing this country. We need to understand the extent of this problem, not hide it.

OUTA is extremely saddened by the high rates of violence and murder that occurs in South Africa, where a murder rate of 57 people a day is indicative of a country in virtual civil unrest.

OUTA urges Government to direct resources into sectors that will address the social stresses which encourage this endemic violence, such as social workers and poverty alleviation. Just last month it was reported in Parliament that there were 8 600 unemployed social workers. It is imperative that we invest in social welfare programs that can absorb these skilled workers who are desperately needed in our country.

OUTA is a proudly South African civil action organisation, that is purely crowd funded. Our work is supported by ordinary citizens who are passionate about holding government accountable and ensuring our taxes are used to the benefit of all South Africans.

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