Yet more crime studies

2010-10-04 00:00

WHILE the release of previously commissioned reports on why crime in South Africa is violent remain stalled, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa wants more studies done.

Speaking at an Institute for Security Studies Conference held on Thursday, he urged researchers to contribute to reducing violent crime in South Africa, saying they can play a critical role researching the reasons behind the phenomenon.

In 2007, the government contracted the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) to carry out a study on the violent nature of crime in South Africa.

The Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster (JCPSC) had made this recommendation to the cabinet in response to ever-increasing public anxiety about high levels of violent crime in the country.

The recommendation was endorsed by the cabinet in 2006.

This resulted in the production of seven reports completed over three years, the first in June 2007 and the final report, “T ackling armed violence — Key findings and recommendations of the study on the violent nature of crime ”, completed in April last year.

However, only two of these reports were made public in August 2008; the others have not seen the light of day. This despite the fact that presentations on the study were done for Mthethwa in March 2009, as well as for his inter-ministerial security committee in September that year.

Ministerial spokesperson Zweli Mnisi said the minister’s remarks should not be misinterpreted.

“We did not say that we need another study. Our view was to emphasise the point that crime in South Africa is violent in nature in comparison to other developing and developed economies.

“We urged researchers to tap into this phenomenon and apply their expertise on how we can all come to an understanding of how we can address this.

“The aforementioned study was commissioned by the former Safety and Security Minister, Charles Nqakula, before Minister Mthethwa assumed office. The report is currently in the process of being considered, presented and discussed by the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster, and then it will be presented to Parliament.

“As soon we’ve engaged JCPSC and Parliament, we will make all the findings public,” he said

He added that when any institution embarks on such research study, at the end the study must give a better picture of core questions.

“As I understand, the question was on ‘Why is crime in South Africa violent’? Whether this has been addressed is what the ministry the JCPSC and parliament will interrogate.”

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