Ramaphosa unpacks plan to keep citizens safe from crime

President Cyril Ramaphosa told parliament on Thursday that government’s resolve is to ensure South Africans’ safety and security is evident through a number of interventions introduced to improve the security cluster’s efficiency.

Among others, said Ramaphosa during a question-and-answer session, was the significant increase in prosecutors and police resourcing as announced in the National Treasury’s Budget speech in February.

“This budget will assist in the recruitment of some 10 000 new police officers to be deployed countrywide to fight crime and additional prosecutors to tackle complex corruption cases and to ensure that complex and high-level corruption cases are dealt with swiftly and efficiently.” 

He said special crimes courts had been established in all provinces and were being equipped with technological tools to allow for virtual testimony and digital receipt of evidence.

“A review of the anti-corruption architecture is near complete. The review will make proposals for institutional architecture enhancement, including proposals for an effective agency to fight corruption,” said Ramaphosa.

He said the weak border control systems in the country would also be strengthened through the establishment of a border management agency. The agency would be staffed with border guards, and the guards would have peace officer powers.

He said South Africa was strengthening international cooperation with other countries including on mutual legal assistance and extradition matters as a priority to fight against all forms of transnational crime.

“The criminal justice system’s ability to respond to criminal activities needs to be complemented by long-term developmental strategies to prevent crimes from happening in the first place and increase levels of safety in communities,” Ramaphosa said.

“The integrated crime and violence prevention strategy, adopted last year, recognises that social and economic contributors to crime must be addressed collaboratively by all stakeholders. It also recognises that our response needs to be integrated and holistic.” 

He added that the six pillars of government’s strategy as approved by cabinet included, firstly, an effective criminal justice system; secondly, support for victims of crime; and thirdly, early social interventions to prevent crime and violence.

Fourth, he mentioned effective and integrated service delivery and safety through environmental design and planning; and lastly, active public and community participation.

“In putting this strategy into practice, the security cluster is working to improve the efficiency, responsiveness, and professionalism of the criminal justice sector while also mobilising communities and establishing strategic partnerships to reduce crime and violence,” he said.

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