Sona: What has been done – Justice

2012-02-11 17:06

While the criminal justice system appears to have “turned a corner” when it comes to the fight against crime, there are still serious problems to be addressed.

The number of murders in South Africa – internationally regarded as the best measure of overall crime rates – has declined by 25% from 19 824 cases in 2003/04 to 15 940 in the past financial year.

Zuma promised improved efficiency of detectives, forensic analysts and crime intelligence operatives in his speech last year, and there are signs that some progress is being made in increasing their numbers and reducing the forensic laboratory backlogs.

But both the Head of Crime Intelligence, General Richard Mdluli, and National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele remain suspended pending misconduct hearings.

The Institute for Security Studies’ Johan Burger said the Crime Intelligence Unit was in a “far worse” position than a year ago, with at least three major generals having been transferred in the past year.

It should also trouble Zuma that, while he said last year that crimes against women and children were a priority, the number of women murdered and raped increased, and it appears that 42% of the total sexual offences committed were against children.Zuma promised decisive action against those selling drugs to children.

But the police’s drug-related crime statistics do not specifically record this. Drug-related crime increased by 11% over the past two years, an indication that more arrests are being made but also that drugs are more widely available.

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