Dear Fellow South Africans,
I am deeply honoured to introduce the first edition of Forethought, a weekly newsletter that aims to illuminate, inspire, and unite us in our collective journey to build a stronger and safer South Africa. This platform will serve as a conduit for thoughts, ideas, and strategic vision, allowing us to navigate the complex challenges that our nation faces.
Forethought, as the name suggests, is about thinking ahead. It is about foresight and vision – the kind of vision that guides us toward a brighter future. It is not just a newsletter; it is a roadmap, a call to action, and a promise to South Africans that we are committed to being a beacon of hope, wisdom, and responsible governance.
As we kickstart this journey, I would like to focus our first edition on a pressing issue that affects the lives and livelihoods of every South African – crime. Crime is a menacing spectre that looms over our society, threatening the very foundations of our nation. It knows no boundaries; it affects both the urban and rural, the young and old, the rich and poor. It is a force that endangers our safety and undermines our prosperity.
According to South Africa’s official Crime Statistics for the first quarter of 2023/24, the South African Police Service (SAPS) recorded 6 228 counts of murder between April and June 2023, with 9 252 counts of rape and 37 491 cases of assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm reported for the same period.
As relates to organised crime, the 2023 Global Organised Crime Index ranks South Africa in the top ten countries worldwide for criminality, with a high criminality score of 7.18 out of 10 – against a global average of 5.03.
South Africa has also recorded a decline in her level of “peacefulness”, with the 2023 Global Peace Index placing South Africa as 130 out of 163 countries globally, a drop of eight places since 2022.
The Devastating Effects of Crime
The impact of crime on South Africa is multifaceted. It tarnishes our international reputation, discourages foreign investment, and ultimately stifles our economic growth. Investors, both domestic and foreign, look for stability and security when deciding where to invest. A high crime rate undermines these very principles.
The consequences of crime ripple through our society. It leads to a loss of human potential, with many young lives cut short by violence or ensnared in a web of criminality. It weakens the fabric of our communities, breaking down trust and cooperation, and leaves lasting psychological scars. Moreover, the financial burden of crime is shouldered by us all, as we pour resources into security measures and coping with its aftermath.
Foreign investors, which play a crucial role in South Africa’s economic growth, often shy away due to the perception of insecurity. This not only affects job creation but also reduces our ability to provide essential services to our citizens, such as healthcare, education, and infrastructure development.
Addressing political killings and violence, as well as gender-based violence (GBV) in society is of paramount importance to ensure the safety, wellbeing, and dignity of all individuals. These issues represent significant challenges and require concerted efforts at various levels, including policy changes, law enforcement, and societal awareness.
Tackling crime is a long-term commitment that requires the involvement of government, law enforcement, communities, and various social and economic sectors. It demands a unified effort to address both the symptoms and root causes of crime to create a safer and more secure South Africa.
The IFP proposes the following interventions to address crime and violence:
- Decentralisation of Policing:
- Provincial Policing Authorities: Establish provincial policing authorities to oversee and coordinate law enforcement efforts, giving provinces more control over local policing strategies.
- Empowering Municipal Police:
- Expanded Powers: Grant municipal police greater authority to address a wide range of offenses, enabling them to respond effectively to local concerns.
- Resource Allocation: Provide increased funding for equipment, training, and community engagement efforts within municipal police departments.
- Community Policing: Promote community policing models for municipal police, emphasising collaboration with local communities to build trust and address public safety concerns.
- Prioritising Rural Policing and Satellite Stations:
- Rural Policing Units: Establish dedicated rural policing units to address the unique challenges and needs of rural areas.
- Satellite Stations: Create satellite police stations in underserved rural communities to improve response times and community engagement.
- Digitising Police Databases:
- Centralised Database: Develop a centralised, digital database system for law enforcement agencies, improving information sharing and analysis.
- Data Security: Ensure robust data security measures to protect sensitive information.
- Streamlining Docket Processes:
- Digital Dockets: Implement digital docket system across all police stations, to prevent loss of dockets, reduce paperwork and streamline case management, thereby speeding up the judicial process.
- Provision of Enhanced Specialised Police Training:
- Rape Cases: Provide enhanced specialised training for law enforcement officers to handle rape cases sensitively and effectively, emphasising victim support and evidence collection.
- Gender-Based Violence: Equip officers with training to address cases of gender-based violence, offering victim assistance and collaborating with support organisations.
- Gangs and Drugs: Develop improved capacity through upskilling and training by experts in the field, to combat gang-related activities and drug trafficking, focusing on intelligence-led policing strategies.
- Data-Driven Policing:
- Predictive Analytics: Utilise data analytics to identify crime trends and hotspots, allowing law enforcement to allocate resources more efficiently.
- Community Outreach:
- Community Policing Initiatives: Encourage police-community partnerships, creating advisory councils and outreach programs to address local concerns.
- Mental Health Training:
- De-escalation and Crisis Intervention: Provide training to police officers to handle individuals in crisis, particularly those with mental health issues, in a way that prioritises de-escalation and support.
- Transparency and Oversight:
- Civilian Oversight Boards: Establish independent civilian oversight boards to monitor and ensure accountability in law enforcement operations.
One of the other key areas of focus within our policy proposals is to address the issue of stronger border crime control.
South Africa has 72 ports of entry:
- 53 land ports;
- 10 aviation or international airports; and
- 9 marine (sea) ports.
Border controls are there for a reason – among others, to keep criminals from entering the country illegally. Porous borders result in South Africa building a reputation as a ‘haven’ for criminals.
In May 2023, one of the world’s most wanted fugitives, Fulgence Kayishema, sought for his involvement in the Rwandan genocide, was arrested in Paarl in the Western Cape. He had been on the run for more than 20 years.
In July 2022, there was the harrowing account of eight women who were raped by a group of illegal immigrants, believed to be zama zamas. Again – could this horrific crime have been prevented if we had better border controls in place?
In February 2023, Judah Mthethwa, the chairperson of the Umhlabuyalingana Society Against Crime (Usac) and a dedicated campaigner against cross-border crime in areas around uMkhanyakude, was murdered at his home in Thengane village, outside Manguzi.
These are just some of the accounts that made headlines. One must ask, how many other men and women have crossed our borders illegally, and
are now hiding in plain sight and conducting criminal activities that place the lives and livelihoods of South African citizens at risk?
Therefore, recognising that border security is crucial for safeguarding our communities, the IFP advocates for a multi-pronged approach that involves strengthening our border enforcement to prevent illegal immigration, human trafficking, and drug smuggling.
We must create a strong deterrent against criminal activities that often originate from or exploit border weaknesses.
Deportation is a vital aspect of our strategy to tackle crime effectively. The IFP believes in upholding the rule of law, and that includes the lawful deportation of individuals involved in criminal activities. This policy is not only a matter of justice but also a deterrent to criminals who may believe they can escape the consequences of their actions by residing in our country.
It is essential that our immigration and law enforcement agencies work in tandem to identify and deport individuals who pose a threat to our nation’s security.
Furthermore, the IFP advocates for collaboration with the military in addressing serious crimes, such as Cash-in-Transit (CIT) heists, gang and mafia-related crimes, and cross-border criminal activities. These types of crimes often require specialised training and resources beyond what traditional law enforcement agencies can provide.
By working closely with the military, we can enhance our capacity to combat highly organised and dangerous criminal elements. This collaboration will ensure the necessary expertise and firepower to tackle these threats head-on and protect our communities from the scourge of organised crime.
In conclusion, the above-mentioned policy proposals aim to enhance law enforcement’s effectiveness, increase responsiveness to local needs, and improve community relations while addressing specific challenges such as crime, violence, and digitisation in modern policing. The IFP’s crime and policing policy further emphasises the importance of strong border control, deportation of criminal individuals, and collaboration with the military to combat serious crimes.
By addressing these critical aspects, we aim to create a safer and more secure environment for our citizens, where the rule of law prevails, and criminal elements are effectively dealt with.
I invite you to engage with me on this topic and those to follow in the coming weeks and months, as we head into the 2024 National and Provincial elections in our country.
Your thoughts, ideas and proposals are most welcome.
Send me an email with your comments, complaints and suggestions and partner with the IFP to get our country back on track!
What to Expect in Future Editions of Forethought?
Forethought will be a platform for engaging discussions, thoughtful insights, and constructive solutions to address the challenges facing our beloved nation. In future editions, you can expect:
In-Depth Analysis: We will provide in-depth analyses of various issues, offering a 360-degree view of topics such as education, healthcare, economic development, and much more.
Guest Contributions: We will invite experts, scholars, and leaders from various fields to share their perspectives and expertise on issues that matter most to South Africans.
Readers’ Voices: We encourage you, our readers, to share your thoughts and ideas. This platform is not just about the leadership but about our collective wisdom.
Inspiration and Unity: We will celebrate the achievements, resilience, and unity that make South Africa a beacon of hope even in the face of adversity.
I invite you to join me on this journey, to be a part of the solution, and to work together towards a safer and more prosperous South Africa.
Thank you for your commitment to our nation, and for allowing Forethought to be a part of your week. Let’s think ahead, and let’s make our South Africa better, one edition at a time.
Hon. Velenkosini Hlabisa MP
Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP)
Share your thoughts with the Office of the President: [email protected]