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We must all fight crime - Zuma

2009-06-03 13:43

Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday repeated his call on citizens to do their bit in the fight against crime.

"Together we must do more to fight crime," he told Parliament in his first State of the Nation address.

"Let me emphasise that we all have a role to play in this war against crime.

"We must actively participate in Community Policing Forums. We must stop buying stolen goods, which encourages crime.

"We must report crime and assist the police with information to catch wrongdoers. In this way, we will move forward towards a crime-free society," Zuma said.

Government intended to establish a transformed, integrated, modernised, properly-resourced and well-managed criminal justice system.

It was also critically important to improve courts' efficiency and the performance of prosecutors, and to enhance detective, forensic and intelligence services.

New energy and vigour

"This work has started in earnest, and it will be undertaken with new energy and vigour."

Among the immediate targets was to ensure the number of prosecutors and Legal Aid Board personnel were increased.

"We will do the same with police detectives," he said.

"We changed the name of the relevant ministry from safety and security to police to emphasise that we want real operational energy in police work.

"This will contribute to the reduction of serious and violent crimes by the set target of seven to ten percent per annum."

The most serious attention would also be given to combating organised crime, as well as crimes against women and children.

Zuma said that while the investment of the private sector in the security industry was appreciated, government would improve regulation of the industry.

Other key initiatives included setting up a Border Management Agency, intensifying efforts against cyber crime and identity theft, and improving systems in jails to reduce repeat offending.

Judiciary

On transformation of the judiciary, Zuma said it should address key issues such as enhancing judicial independence, entrenching internal systems of judicial accountability, as well as ensuring full access to justice by all.

"The success of the democratic system as a whole depends on good relations of mutual respect and a spirit of partnership among the executive, the legislature and the judiciary.

"This is very important for our constitutional democracy," he said.

Government's commitment to fighting corruption in the public service was strong.

"We will pay particular attention to combating corruption and fraud in procurement and tender processes, application for drivers' licences, social grants, IDs and theft of police case dockets," Zuma said.

SAPA