Ministers sign crime-fighting agreements

2010-10-24 21:25

Cape Town - Ministers in the justice and security cluster have promised to step up crime fighting efforts in a delivery agreement signed with President Jacob Zuma on Sunday.

"Today's signing of the JCPS (justice, crime prevention and security) delivery agreement signifies a renewed co-ordinated and transparent approach to the fight against crime," Justice Minister Jeff Radebe told reporters in Pretoria.

"The agreement constitutes government's programme of action in making South Africa safe for all citizens and residents and to make the country more attractive to investors and visitors who have expressed concern about crime in South Africa.

"The outcome is a rallying call to all South Africans to work together in the fight against crime and corruption."

Radebe said the agreement aimed to improve co-ordinated crime intelligence, to increase visible policing and crime prevention actions, to reduce the number of escapes from custody and the management of bail processes and legislation.

The cluster aimed to reduce reported serious crimes from 3.924 to "at least" 3.767 per 100 000 people.

Ministers to sign the agreement included Radebe, Defence and Military Veterans Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane, Finance Minister Pravhin Gordhan and Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Forensic services

Radebe said the agreement sought to improve forensic services and fingerprint management by using "integrated technologies and databases".

"We intend to increase the detection rate for contact and trio crimes, which include car hijacking, bank robbery and house robbery," Radebe said.

"We will also improve the production of court-ready dockets in order to achieve a 2% increase in the number of criminal cases finalised each year.

"The cluster will try to reduce the average time spent in remand by suspects, while increasing the percentage of parolees who commit no offences while on parole."

Border management

A border management agency (BMA) "interim structure" would be in place by 2011 to improve border security.

"The SA National Defence Force will progressively be redeployed to the borders with Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho, Botswana and Namibia by 2013, followed by the establishment of a BMA as a single structure by 2014," Radebe said.

Other measures to improve security include a new identity and citizenship regulatory framework, to ensure that "the registration of birth" is the only entry point for South Africans to the national population register, a database on corruption and a monthly meeting between the judiciary and JCPS cluster director generals to address issues impacting on the performance of courts.

Radebe said the agreement would pull together "all stakeholders in the criminal justice system" and "channel all efforts towards a common goal".