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At the heart of the revamped Criminal Justice System (CJS) is the commitment to enhance the provision of quality and professional services, including the dispensation of swift, equitable and fair justice, as well as to boost the integrity of the CJS.

The National Commissioner heads the South African Police Service (SAPS). Five deputy national commissioners (under whom the divisions and components of the SAPS fall) and nine provincial commmissioners (under whom the provinces fall) report to the National Commissioner.

As part of its commitment to fight crime, government has redeployed more resources to the various police stations in the country.

The policy documents governing policing in South Africa include the SAPS Act, 1995 and the 1996 National Crime-Prevention Strategy.

The operational priorities of the department's strategic plan for
2005 to 2010 are:

  • combating organised crime
  • fighting serious and violent crime
  • addressing crime against women and children
  • improving on other SAPS priorities that affect basic service delivery

Reducing crime

Crime prevention in South Africa is based on the principles of community policing; that is, partnerships between the community and the SAPS. Partnerships between police officers (who are appointed as sector managers) and communities strengthen existing community policing forums (CPFs), which have been in place since 1993. By March 2008, 1 111 CPFs were fully operating at 1 115 police stations.

Sector policing was introduced in 2002/03 to increase the visibility and accessibility of police officers, particularly in areas that have limited infrastructure and high crime levels. It is implemented continually.

Sector policing has been implemented at 139 of the 169 highpriority areas. The CPFs are actively involved in crime-prevention and awareness programmes, allowing the police to mobilise and involve communities in the fight against crime, as well as forming partnerships with businesses and other stakeholders in communities to address concerns about crime.

The National Community Policing Consultative Forum (NCPCF) represents role-players from the SAPS, the National Secretariat for Safety and Security and the provincial chairpersons of the CPFs. By mid-2008, the following matters were under discussion at the NCPCF:

•standardising the CPF's constitution
•developing a draft communication and marketing strategy for CPFs
•developing training material for CPFs
The SAPS is dedicated to uplifting historically disadvantaged communities. This includes building community safety centres (CSCs) that focus on delivering basic and easily accessible services to communities, especially in deep rural areas and informal settlements.

CSCs bring together the SAPS and the departments of justice and constitutional development, correctional services, health and social development.

Fighting crime

The crime statistics for the period 1 April 2007 to 31 March 2008 were compared to the same period the previous year. It was reported that all eight of the contact crimes showed decreases during the reporting period. The reduction in these crimes was as follows:

  • common robbery: 9.5%
  • rape: 8.8%
  • attempted murder: 7.5%
  • robbery with aggravating circumstances: 7.4%
  • common assault: 6.6%
  • murder: 4.7%
  • assault with the intention to do grievous bodily harm: 4.6%
  • indecent assault: 2.1%

An overall decrease of 6.4% in the incidence of contact crimes was achieved during the financial year under review.

Although robbery with aggravating circumstances accounts for about 5% of contact crimes and 2% of all serious crimes, the increase in some subcategories, such as robberies at residential premises, robberies at business premises, truck hijackings and carjacking, is of extreme concern. These subcategories showed increases of 13.5%, 47.4%, 39.6% and 4.4% rsepectively.

Despite the above, most of the property-related, contactrelated and other serious crimes experienced decreased.

Reductions were recorded in the incidence of malicious damage to property (-5.4%), arson (-6.6%), burglary at residential premises (-5.6%), theft of motor vehicles (-7.9%) and stock theft (-1.25)

Forensic Science Services (FSS) and Criminal Record Centre (CRC)

The function of the CRC is primarily the provisioning of previous conviction reports to courts, while the FSS provides scientific support in the investigation of crime.

The following improvements and additions to the CRC's capacity
will assist in investigating crime:

  • A shoe-print system has been implemented
  • A "scene-of-crime" terminal has been acquired and is to be implemented as a pilot project. This pilot will provide the local CRC personnel with the option for searching latent fingerprints obtained at the crime scene against the Automated Finderprint Identification System database.

The Biology Section of the FSS has ensured that the Genetic Sample Processing System (GSPS) is now fully functional and is greatly adding to the laboratory's capacity to process DNA-related entries. It is primarily used to analyse samples where the suspect is unknown. The production of the GSPS is scheduled to reach a target of about 4 000 various DNA analyses (inclusive of isolation, amplification and fragment analyses) per week. By using the GSPS, the laboratory will be able to ensure that more than 1 000 entries per month are finalised.

The Ballistics Section has implemented the national Integrated Ballistics Identification System (IBIS) database, which contributed to greater accuracy in the identification of firearms. At present, a three-dimensional correlation system is being implemented, which, being part of the IBIS, will improve the accuracy of identification of firearms from about 85% to 100%.

Detective Service

The Detective Service is responsible for maintaining an effective crime-investigation service. It investigates crimes and gathers all related evidence required by the prosecuting authority to redress crime.

Visible Policing

Visible Policing is responsible for providing a proactive and reactive policing service. It is regarded as a line function and its components are Visible Policing, Social-Crime Prevention, Police Emergency Services, Specialised Operations, Firearm and Liquor Control, Borderline Operations and Crime-Combating Operations.

Visible Policing is responsible for combating crime through anti-crime operations, activities at police stations, maintaining high visibility and the availability of police officials at grassroots level. It also oversees sector policing, reservists, municipal police services and closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance.

Social Crime Prevention deals with crimes affecting the social fabric of society, including crimes against women and children. The Police Emergency Services responds to crimes in progress, and provides dog and mounted services. Hostage and suicide negotiators, police drivers, and uniformed units such as the 10111 emergency centres and the Flying Squad provide specialised services.

The Police Emergency Services is also responsible for optimising the Integrated Crime-Prevention Road Policing Strategy, which aims to improve safety and order in the road environment by preventing and combating criminality and lawlessness.

Firearms and Liquor Control eradicates the proliferation of firearms for use in crime and violence in South Africa. The component also ensures compliance with and effective enforcement of liquor-control legislation to address serious, violent and contact crime in South Africa.

In 2007/08, more than 64 000 firearms were destroyed.

Specialised Operations provides a rapid-response capacity for intervening in extreme situations where normal policing is ineffective, including combating public violence; stabilising serious and violent crime incidents; policing public gatherings; rendering specialised operational support (including the Air Wing and Special Task Force); and handling high-risk operations.

Six Robinson helicopters were procured for the SAPS Airwing and were delivered from June 2008. These small cost-effective helicopters were deployed in provinces to speed up experiencebuilding of young pilots to get them operationally ready within a short period of time. These helicopters will also contribute to aerial observation to combat crime. A Cessna Sovereign Jet was also introduced into the SAPS during March 2008, which enhances the SAPS' capacity to speedily transport top management and special units over longer distances whether within or outside the borders of South Africa.

Borderline Operations combats transnational crimes at air, sea and land borderlines. Land Borderline Control polices the South African land borderline. Air Borderline Control polices more than 1 000 smaller airfields and airstrips. Sea Borderline Control is responsible for policing smaller sea harbours and slipways, including the South African ocean. During 2006/07, the operational area of responsibility extended seawards by 200 nautical miles and 10 kilometres inland off the shoreline. The process of the SAPS taking over the borderline-control function from the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) is expected to be finalised in 2009.

Preparations for the 2010 Soccer Cup South Africa is expected to deploy 41 000 police officers specifically to ensure the safety of visitors to the country during the 2010 World Cup. There will be one police officer for every 10 foreign tourists expected for the duration of the event. Government plans to increase the number of police officers in the country to 192 000 by the end of 2009/10.

To maintain safety and security during the 2010 World Cup and comply with FIFA requirements, an additional amount of R665,6 million was allocated to the Department for Safety and Security in the 2007 Budget for the procurement of operational equipment such as helicopters, CCTV, radio communications, roadblocks and riot and other technical equipment.

A dedicated structure for continuous safety and security planning has been established and works in collaboration with the 2010 Organising Committee. A strategy has also been developed to co-ordinate the gathering and dissemination of intelligence.

The plan is to make available police escorts for teams, referees and members of the FIFA delegation; and to provide security at land, sea and air borders, routes and venues – namely stadiums, hotels, events and tourists attractions. The SAPS also plans to patrol routes to and from the airports, and into the cities and to provide video feeds to the operational headquarters in Pretoria using command vehicles and helicopters equipped with cameras.

International police officers from every country playing in the event will also be present, wearing their own uniforms, to assist the SAPS and public.

Defence

The mission of the Department of Defence is to defend and protect South Africa, its territorial integrity and its people.

The department, under the auspices of the New Partnership for Africa's Development, participates in various initiatives to secure peace and stability on the continent.

The SANDF is an all-volunteer force consisting of a regular core force and a reserve force. In addition to military matters, the Department of Defence is involved in search-and-rescue operations, hydrography and securing national key points. Uniformed members of the SANDF have the right to join trade unions, but may not go on strike or picket.

Peace support

The number of South African peacekeeping operations on the African continent has increased. As an erstwhile member of the African Union Peace and Security Council, South Africa has become a significant contributor to peacekeeping in Africa. This includes troop contributions (both military units and individuals as civilian police, military observers and military staff officers) and mediation or facilitation. For the first time, members have also been deployed outside the African continent with, for example, the deployment of five members in support of the United Nations Political Mission in Nepal. South Africa has also rendered assistance to a number of countries during disasters (e.g. Mozambique) and elections (e.g. Madagascar and Lesotho) while assistance in support of post-conflict reconstruction is ongoing in countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan.

Armaments Corporation of South Africa (Armscor)

Armscor is a statutory body established in accordance with the Armscor Limited Act, 2003. The Minister of Defence is the executive authority responsible for Armscor. The management and control of Armscor resides with a board of directors, while its day-to-day management vests in the hands of the management board.

In executing its functions, Armscor maintains capabilities and technologies that are required to fulfil its mandate.

These include appropriate programme-management systems, the Defence Industrial Participation Programme and the management of technology projects and strategic facilities.

Armscor acquires defence material for the Department of Defence and, with the approval of the Minister of Defence, for any organ of state, public entities and any sovereign state that may require such services.

Denel Group of South Africa

Denel (Pty) Ltd is a state-owned company operating in the military aerospace and landward defence environment. It was incorporated as a private company in 1992 in terms of the Companies Act, 1973.

Apart from being original equipment manufacturers in certain product categories, the Denel businesses are also engaged in the overhaul, maintenance, repair, refurbishment and upgrade of the defence systems in the SANDF's arsenal. As such, they ensure a greater measure of strategic independence for the country, while providing the SANDF with the cost-effective means to undertake its role in peacekeeping and in peace-support missions beyond South Africa's borders.

Denel has developed innovative technologies in several niche areas, notably in artillery, munitions, missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles. Along with specific production capabilities, its businesses are well positioned to act as specialised contractors to global defence suppliers.

Intelligence services South Africa has two civilian intelligence structures: the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and the South African Secret Service (SASS).

The NIA's mission is to provide government with domestic intelligence and counter-intelligence. The NIA's mandate has been divided into seven areas of interest: counter-intelligence; political, economic and border intelligence; terrorism; organised crime and corruption.

The SASS is South Africa's foreign-intelligence capacity. A civilian ministry and a Cabinet committee exercise executive control. The SASS' objective is to forewarn, inform and advise government on real and potential threats to South Africa's security, and on socio-economic opportunities for the country.

SOURCE
Image: The chief focus of the metro police is to get speeding drivers to slow down, as well as other aspects of crime prevention and traffic safety.
Photo: Chris Kirchhoff,
MediaClubSouthAfrica.com