17 February 2003
Serious crime categories in the country are either stable or on the decline, acording to Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula.
Addressing the media during Parliamentary briefing sessions in Cape Town on Monday, Nqakula said the gains made in reducing the levels of crime in the country were the result of a 10-year programme initiated by the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security cluster in 2000 to stabilise or reduce crime and build capacity in the cluster departments.
The cluster comprises the departments of safety and security, correctional services, justice and constitutional development, and intelligence.
Nqakula said incidents of murder had already decreased by almost 17% since 1999 due to a concentrated action on specific tendencies such as gang violence, taxi violence and other manifestations of inter-group violence.
To ensure an even further reduction in crime levels, crime combating units have been established to deal with medium-risk operations as well as operations requiring high levels of force, Nqakula said.
The minister said stabilisation initiatives were under way in 45 priority areas where there were high levels of violent crimes, while special projects were put in place to address murder and rape in 94 areas.
Major events hosted in safety
Nqakula said the conditions were ripe for the government to forge a people’s contract for a safer and better South Africa.
He was referring to the country’s ability to host major events without any criminal incident. Last July, South Africa hosted the launch of the African Union in Durban without any criminal incident, as well as the World Summit on Sustainable Development in August.
Nqakula said that to date, no serious incidents of crime and security breach had been reported at the Cricket World Cup, which South Africa is currently hosting.
“As President Thabo Mbeki highlighted in his State of the Nation on Friday, our successes in the sphere of criminal justice system will depend on communities volunteering to assist the security agencies in this work,” said Nqakula.
He added that this success would involve consolidating all partnerships – like the efforts involving Business Against Crime (BAC), and a recent development in Khayelitsha in the Western Cape where business, education and community leaders had joined forces to address crime.