Commitment to fight crime will help promote economic recovery
As South Africa charts its way out of the ravages of unemployment and declining economic growth imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, President Cyril Ramaphosa committed his administration to focusing on fighting crime, writes Malatswa Molepo.
The pledge to fight crime that President Ramaphosa made during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) has been identified as one of the enablers of economic growth. The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) has argued that it is not surprising that crime and violence remain so disturbingly high in South Africa. In fact, it is surprising that there is not more of it, given the country’s violent past as poverty and inequality continue to deepen and increase.
According to the ISS, crime will be exacerbated by the effects of Covid-19, and that the state has failed to maintain the confidence of its citizens and promote respect for the rule of law. But this will soon change when crime-fighting pillars announced by the President are implemented.
The President said there has been a great effort in rebuilding capacity within the law enforcement agencies as a way of ensuring effectiveness of those bodies. “Critical leadership positions have been filled with capable, experienced and trustworthy professionals,” President Ramaphosa said.
Another horrid crime that the President highlighted as a concern is the scourge of
corruption, which has been laid bare by evidence given at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry. As a remedy, the President announced that the government has started the implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy, which lays out the basis for a comprehensive and integrated society-wide response to corruption.
“We will shortly be appointing members of the National Anti-Corruption Advisory Council, which is a multisectoral body that will oversee the initial implementation of the strategy and the establishment of an independent statutory anticorruption body that will report to Parliament.
“Cooperation among law enforcement agencies has also been highlighted as an effective tool to ensure alliance in fighting crime. There is improved cooperation and sharing of resources between the respective law enforcement agencies, enabling a more integrated approach to investigations and prosecutions,” President Ramaphosa said.
To strengthen collaboration and cooperation, the President announced the establishment of a fusion centre, which brings together key law enforcement agencies to share information and resources. The Fusion Centre, according to President Ramaphosa, has brought many cases to trial and preserved or recovered millions of rands in public funds.
To encourage economic activity and reverse the 6% contraction of the economy in the third quarter of 2020, an effort will be made by government to fight crimes like cable theft, railway infrastructure vandalism, land invasions, construction site disruptions, and attacks on truck drivers, because these types of crimes hamper economic activity and discourage investment.
President Ramaphosa informed the country that task teams have been set up in a number of provinces to deal with extortion and violence on sites of economic activity. “We are also fasttracking the implementation and capacitation of the Border Management Agency to curb illegal immigration and crossborder crimes,” the President said.
As South Africa contemplates a life post-Covid-19, it will also anticipate a crime-free country that is focused on economic growth, that creates employment for the millions of work-ready adults in the country.