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OPE OH!!! South Africa Takes Over From Nigeria As The Drug Hub Of Africa

Released yesterday, the 2014-2015 statistics show dramatic increases in truck hijackings (up 29.1% on the previous year) and car hijackings (up 14.2%). Drug-related crime increased by 2.4%.

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These crimes, explained Unisa criminology professor Anthony Minnaar, are associated with organised crime.


“A recent UN report on organised crime stated that South Africa has become a hub and is providing the rest of Africa with organised crime’s stolen goods,” said Minnaar, adding that Lagos was once organised crime’s city of choice.

The reason for crime flourishing was the failure of SA Police Service intelligence to infiltrate criminal networks and arrest their leaders.

A Gauteng flying squad commander said those behind crimes, especially truck hijackings, were highly organised.

“They have command structures and payroll masters, teams responsible for the organising of weapons, vehicles and equipment needed for the attacks, and structures solely responsible for arranging buyers for either the truck or the cargo.”

He said criminal gangs were running circles around the police, exploiting loopholes in the intelligence community.

“They have better intelligence than we do and use their resources far better than we do, exploiting our weaknesses for their gains,” the commander, who did not want to be named, said.

Gareth Newham of the Institute for Security Studies said the disarray of police management, a dysfunctional crime intelligence service and a lack of proper crime-prevention plans was helping organised crime.

“The plans that should be in place are not there. Resources that are meant to be provided to deal with organised crime are not there. The longer the situation remains as it is the more organised and more violent crime will grow.”

The crime statistics, released to parliament’s portfolio committee on police, show that serious and violent crimes have increased for the third consecutive year.

The murder rate increased 4.6% to an average of 49 murders a day.

Attempted murders increased by 3.2%, common robbery by 2.7% and aggravated robbery by 8.5%.

There was a 5.4% increase in sexual offences.

Police Minister Nathi Nhleko was at pains to point out that violent crime, and in particular, murder, would not and could not be solved by police alone as they were a societal ill.

The belief that police could single-handedly reduce the murder rate in the country was “essentially a hallucination”, he said.

Researchers and politicians questioned the methodology and accuracy of the latest statistics.

Newham said a sign of how police management had deteriorated was the errors in the police statistics in the past two financial years.

“In 2012-2013 the wrong population figures were used. This year it is basic computing errors, which should be picked up but are creeping in. In the end it boils down to the appointment of people who don’t have the skills for the job. It is simply bad management,” he said.

Lizette Lancaster, manager of the Institute for Security Studies’ crime and justice information hub, said there were two issues around the errors.

“The first is a glitch in the spread sheets, which comes through at station level. The more interesting glitch is police management’s revision of all the statistics from the 2003-2005 financial year.”

In the 2013-2014 statistics there were 17 068 murders. The revision reduced the number by 45 bodies.

“We are seeking an explanation,” said Lancaster.

Politicians were also sceptical when presented with the statistics

“How will the statistics be quality-controlled if Stats SA does not have the responsibility for releasing them, asked ANC MP Martha Mmola. “What efforts are made to ensure SAPS members capture the information correctly at the station level on the case system?”

DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard said that during a recent oversight visit to the Free State, she was told that some 7000 dockets had been closed and archived in the previous month. “Are those dockets that have been shut removed from the crime statistics?”

Freedom Front Plus MP Pieter Groenewald said: “I receive numerous complaints from members of the public who lay charges, but when they follow up, the cases just disappear and don’t even have a case number. Crime in South Africa is not under control.”

Police commissioner Riah Phiyega said the police were “ably aided and supported” by Stats SA when compiling crime statistics.

“The current statistics have undergone a clearance. Our view is that crime statistics are so crucial we need to graduate them to being an official statistic, such as key indicators like the GDP.”
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