Corrupt SA – mafia heaven


Organised crime is flourishing in South Africa largely because corruption is rampant.

‘‘Organised crime networks usually have little chance of success if they don’t have the co-operation of government or businessmen,’’ says Annette Huebschle, senior researcher in organised crime at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS).

After three years of intensive research she has completed the most comprehensive report yet on the subject in SA.

The lifestyles of underworld highflyers have all the hallmarks of a Hollywood movie: fast cars, strip clubs, sex, drugs and murder. But it’s real-life drama.

And in recent years a gallery of dodgy characters and their flashy lives have been paraded on the front pages of SA newspapers. The latest was former nightclub security boss Cyril Beeka who was gunned down in his car on a Cape Town street.

South Africa fares poorly on every international index that measures corruption and fraud.

‘‘The sentencing of former police commissioner Jackie Selebi and comments made by men like Glenn Agliotti (who was implicated in the murder of Brett Kebble) about the thriving relationship between corrupt government officials, politicians and criminals are significant,’’ Huebschle says.

Police struggle to apprehend big-time criminals. A 2007 study by auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers showed 72 per cent of SA companies have been affected by money-laundering, embezzlement, bribery and fraud.

The police’s inability to tackle white-collar criminals (less than 15 per cent of fraud cases lead to a conviction) makes the situation look scary.

Unisa criminologist Professor Anthony Minnaar says organised crime is especially difficult to combat. ‘‘The only way is to cut off the head of the structure – the leader.’’

Read the full article in YOU, 7 April 2011.

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