(Debate in Parliament: Strengthening the capacity of law enforcement agencies in the fight against violent crimes and to tackle illicit economic activities like illegal mining extortion, and economic sabotage)
A holistic approach to the entire criminal justice system should be followed in an attempt to effectively combat crime, particularly organised crime.
At this stage, the criminal justice system consisting of the South African Police Service, Correctional Services and the Department of Justice is failing the people of South Africa miserably.
Corruption has infiltrated these organs to such an extent that crime can no longer be effectively combated.
It is well-known that crime bosses continue to orchestrate activities from their prison cells, especially when it comes to organised crime. And when it comes to the courts, dockets going missing is not a strange phenomenon.
Everyone knows that corruption is rampant in the police force. It is quite easy to undermine an investigation so that there is no possibility of successful prosecution.
This means that the crime inside the system, namely corruption, must first be eradicated before any success can be achieved in fighting crime outside of the system.
To make matters worse, the force is currently experiencing a great loss of expertise in the form of personnel. In KwaZulu Natal, 70% of the province’s Task Force members left the police service within a short period of time.
Some of the reasons cited include poor salaries, poor working conditions and a poor promotion policy. Some members have had the same rank and waited up to 20 years for promotion while qualifying for it.
Concerning the zama-zamas, it is no different from organised crime. President Cyril Ramaphosa has deployed the Defence Force for the fight against this crime, but it is a futile attempt.
It would be suicide for members of the police or defence force to go searching for zama-zamas underground, and it would still not eradicate the root of the problem.
The focus should be on tackling the syndicates that buy the mined materials.
Rash actions and words alone will not resolve South Africa’s crime problem. The bigger picture should be carefully considered followed by decisive action.