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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.

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