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Notes on Fighting Crime by Hon. M Mothapo

14 November 2017

Philosophical Orientation

The ANC Ready to Govern document in its promotion for safer communities showed commitment to giving special attention to fighting crime. The ANC noted that mechanisms had to be established to combat crime. The Ready to Govern document noted that the first priority strategy to combat crime is to understand and address the crime producing conditions that prevail in our society.

In fighting crime, the ANC committed itself to elevating the importance and dignity of all human beings, and to dealing with the pressing needs of the majority of South Africans. The ANC committed itself to creating legitimate security institutions with people being involved in the law making process. The ANC was and is still of the view that a just criminal justice system will enhance respect for the courts and obedience to the law.

Freedom Charter

The ANC adopted the Freedom Charter and resolved that all shall be equal before the law. No one would be imprisoned, deported or restricted without a fair trial. No one would be condemned by the order of any government official. The courts would be representative of all people. Imprisonment would be for serious crimes and would aim at re-education and not vengeance. The police force and army would be open to all on an equal basis and would be the helpers and protectors of the people.

Constitution

The Constitution of our country guarantees every person the right to life and the right to security and freedom of a person which includes among other things, the right to freedom from all other forms of violence. The Constitution further guarantees that adequate protection of such rights is fundamental to the well-being, social and economic development of every person. Section 205 (3) of the Constitution provides that the objects of the police service are to prevent, combat, to protect and secure the inhabitants of the Republic and their prospects and uphold the law. The State must protect, promote and respect this rights as enshrined in the Constitution .

The ANC government has championed, through the Constitution, for the establishment of Chapter 9 institutions supporting constitutional democracy in order to protect our fundamental rights as enshrined in our Constitution. These institutions are independent, and subject only to the Constitution and the rule of law. These institutions must exercise their powers and perform their functions without fear, favour or prejudice .

Fighting crime is one of the priority areas in terms of both the 2014 ANC Manifesto, to which extensive resources have been placed and view the safety and security of the community in South Africa as a priority.

ANC Policy

The ANC government has committed itself to fighting crime in whatever form it manifests itself in our society. At the 52nd National Conference, the ANC resolved to establish Community Police Forums (CPFs). The work of CPFs would be established by the communities themselves at a properly constituted meeting where the most capable people from such communities would be elected in terms of democratic processes . The CPF would be responsible to the people through direct interface with them and dynamic interaction with local authority through the structure's security coordinator. Some of the functions of the CPF would be to help root the police among the people through confidence building programmes and would also help citizens to enjoy easy access to the police to report crimes and criminality. At the same Conference, the ANC made the call for the formation of street committees in order to help fight crime. At the 53rd National Conference, the ANC urged the incoming NEC to ensure that its structures implement this resolution. These structures are known as organs of people's power where the masses would be their own liberators.

The ANC's anti-corruption programmes and policies since 1994 in the fight against corruption remains high up on the country's agenda. The many instruments that have been established to fight corruption and their output demonstrate the seriousness of the democratic government about fighting corruption. The Anti-Corruption Task Team exists which comprises thirteen government departments and institutions aimed at fast-tracking investigations and the prosecution of corruption cases. There also exist other specialised anti-corruption units within various law enforcement agencies which have made tangible progress. The ANC government also works with the National Anti-Corruption Forum to coordinate a civil society wide response. Internally, the ANC took a decision in Mangaung to establish an Integrity Commission to promote ethical behaviour .

National Development Plan

Outcome three of the National Development Plan entails: All People feel Safe. The aim is that in 2030, people living in South Africa feel safe at home, at school and at work, and they enjoy a community life free of fear. Women walk freely in the street and children play safely outside. As a result of substantially reduced levels of serious and violent crime, businesses are thriving and local and foreign investors are establishing new businesses. This in turn leads to the creation of new job opportunities and the reduction of poverty and inequality.

The NDP vision is that the Criminal Justice System will be well-resourced, professional and is staffed by highly skilled officials who value their work, serve the community, safeguard lives and property without discrimination, protect communities and citizens against violent crime and respect people's rights to equality and justice.

Chapter 12 of the NDP speaks to Building Safer Communities. Achieving Outcome three requires a functioning criminal justice system. There are five priorities to focus on to achieve a crime free South Africa :

White Paper on Policing

In 1994 the democratic government highlighted the inappropriateness of apartheid policing methods and introduced a process of wide ranging reform towards civilian policing including the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa 1996, the South African Police Service Act 1995, the National Crime Prevention Strategy 1996 and the 1998 White Paper on Safety and Security. The past two decades have noted significant shifts in the policing environment such as the increase in technology based crime and growing sophistication amongst international networks, which necessitated a review of policies and legislation. The White Paper on Policing provides a policy framework for achieving the policing vision contained in the National Development Plan, emphasizing the need to make police service professional, demilitarise the police, build safety using an integrated approach and build community participation .

The White Paper separates the police focused policy from broader policy on Safety and Security. It provides a framework that will regularise the SAPS as part of the broader public service and enhance effective civilian control over SAPS. According to the National Development Plan, the 21st century policing requires a professional, well-resourced and highly skilled police service. The recommendations provides for a demilitarised police service that must display a firm commitment to carrying out its constitutional mandate and embracing a human rights culture. A civilian police service which is responsive to diverse communities and displays a fair and accountable approach to policing . The White Paper on Policing further puts emphasis on community cantered policing which builds sustained community support as well as participation and is responsive to vulnerabilities and policing needs at all levels, including disparate communities. An active citizenry and regular communication and information sharing between SAPS and community police forum.

     
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