Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster (JCPS)


25 Aug 2008

Presenters: Minister of Safety and Security, Hon Charles Nqakula, Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Hon Johnny de Lange the Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development and Mr David Bruce, Centre for Study of Violence and Reconciliation.

JPCS Cluster Briefing

Mr Charles Nqakula, Minister of Safety and Security, addressed the media on the various submissions that had been made to the recent Cabinet Legotla, and outlined the decisions that had been taken to further advance the work of the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster (see attached document) The primary focus was the review of the Criminal Justice System, that would seek to dramatically change its current form to address the blockages in the system. The policy directives and any necessary amendments to legislation would be facilitated by the fourth Parliament. The crime reduction target would remain at 7 to 10%. He cited the trends of serious and violent crimes. At the end of May there were 3 478 children in detention centres across the country. More resources would be given to the Moral Regeneration Campaign that dealt with social crime and children in conflict with the law. An interdepartmental team was dealing with overcrowding and Awaiting Trial Detainees (ATDs), and he said 93 869 detainees were still awaiting trial. On the matter of border control he noted that the Police Service (SAPS) and National Defence Force (SANDF) had met to re- assess South Africa's border control strategy and he described some interventions to be made. In respect of the victims of xenophobic violence, he noted that 6 000 still remained to be reintegrated. More than 1 000 arrests had been made pursuant to the recent violence. Urbanisation was creating more problems as the lack of infrastructure meant that many people became involved in lawlessness. The goal remained to eradicate townships and informal settlements by 2014.  Although the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol had been signed, with the aim of introducing a single visa for all member states, this was not yet implemented. Finally, he reported that South Africa had now hosted several major events without any problems and that this was an indication that the police services were coping with security, and would continue with these efforts to the 2010 World Cup.

Mr David Bruce, Senior Researcher, Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) briefed the media on a study conducted to try to ascertain why violent crime in South Africa had become so prevalent and to formulate conclusions and policy directives that would assist the Department of Safety and Security and other role-players in tackling the issue of violent crime in South Africa. The study focused on six indicators: the major forms of violence, acquaintance violence and stranger violence, neglected sub-categories of violence, violent crime priorities, and causes of violent crime and measures to address violent crimes.


Q. The Minister of Safety and Security was asked what the authorities would do to illegal border-jumpers once they had been arrested.

A. Minister Nqakula replied that those people that crossed the border illegally would be arrested and sent to repatriation camps, as the tide of illegal border crossings had to be stopped.

He added that SADC has a Southern African Police Chiefs Organisation that was established to facilitate cooperation in the various SADC security apparatuses. All SADC members were also committed in protecting their borders. Aircraft would be used to beam back real time images of the borders, that would assist in the detection of illegal border jumpers.

Q. A journalist said he was surprised that the Minister was unaware of statements made by his wife, the Hon Minister of Home Affairs, that it would not be in anyone’s interest to arrest and deport illegal immigrants.

A. Minister Nqakula replied that he and his wife had decided not to discuss politics at home. However, he had understood that this statement was made specifically in relation to displaced people, as it would have seemed opportunistic to arrest illegal immigrants that had been displaced. He added that those that were not victims of xenophobic violence were sent to Lindela repatriation centre immediately. The matter was receiving immediate attention.

Q. The Minister of Safety and Security was asked what he meant when he touched on the subject of poverty being related to crime. He was asked whether enough resources had been injected into the Moral Regeneration Programme, for the intended purpose.

A. The Minister noted that much still had to be done and that more resources were needed to adequately address the issue of crime as there was a connection between poverty and crime. However, poverty and inequality could not be seen as the main motive to commit crime, and it was this mindset that had to be changed. He said it was important that all South Africans worked hand in hand with the SAPS to combat crime, in order for moral regeneration to be effective

Q. The Minister of Safety and Security was asked whether the JCPS had decided on any time lines for the projects it intended embarking upon.

A. The Minister stated that no time lines had been given, as some of the matters could be dealt with easily and quickly, whilst others needed much more time. This had already been indicated in a previous media briefing.

Mr Johnny de Lange, Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, noted that Mr Bruce had pointed out that giant strides had to be made to address issues such as inequality, unemployment and poverty, and that it would take some time for these socio-economic issues to be resolved. He added that all of the issues raised at the Legotla and in the report by the CSVR had to be addressed as a matter of urgency, and that an interdepartmental task team had been appointed to assess and review the blockages within the Criminal Justice System. An analysis would be made of the findings by the various task teams as soon as the report was tabled within two weeks.

Q. The Minister was asked whether the increase in murder perpetrated by women was done in self-defense or premeditated.

A. This question was not answered.

Q. The Minister of Safety and Security was asked whether the rise in school violence was in part due to what was happening in American schools.

A. The Minister replied that he hoped that the study by the CSVR would shed some light on the problems that the youth faced. He was uncertain whether South African youths were imitating the acts of violence that had occurred in American schools.

Q. A journalist asked whether the shocking figures that pertained to youth crime statistics meant that crime was out of control in South Africa.

A. Minister Nqakula said that government had not lost the battle against crime and never would lose this battle. He noted that communities were still undecided on the real causes of violence in schools and that government needed to engage with parents to find lasting solutions to the problem of school violence. If they played their part, then children would not come to school with illicit items such as weapons.

The Minister added that even though crime figures were high, it was an exaggeration to say that, due to the criminal activities perpetrated by youths, crime was out of control in South Africa.

He added that one of the reasons why South African prisons were overcrowded was in part due to the sterling work by the SAPS since 1994, as more the 6 000 people were serving life sentences. There were arrests and ongoing investigations into the spate of ATM bombings.

Q. The Minister was asked how government hoped to eliminate the existence of townships by 2010.

A. The question went unanswered.

Q. The Minister was reminded that the Department of Justice had indicated that the problems it had experienced with overcrowding were due to the blockages in the Criminal Justice System, and had not said this was due to the sterling work conducted by SAPS.

A. Deputy Minister de Lange said that the Criminal Justice System review was a national project, and that it took a long time for government to contemplate an overhaul of the system as it had always concentrated on bringing down the crime rate. He stressed the importance of the participation by non-governmental organisations, the opposition, the media, private sector and the broader society at large in assisting government in these plans for an overhaul.

He said that of the reported 2, 1 million cases, 340 000 had been finalised and that this was in part due to the problems that occurred “in the middle” of the CJS. Those problems needed to be identified and corrected so that the backlog could be adequately addressed. Mr de Lange added that South African law was very advanced in terms of what could be done with convicted prisoners, but that government had a problem with proper facilities and funding for these alternative programmes.

The Deputy Minister noted that the Department of Justice was currently undertaking an audit of all awaiting trialists, with the view to identifying the areas that could be improved upon, particularly since 11 000 people that had been declared eligible for bail were still held in prison as they could not afford to pay the bail. There was a need for judicial officials to make decisions on eligibility and to conduct a second review of the person's personal financial situation. Many of these people were incarcerated while awaiting trial for petty theft such as stealing bread or milk formula.

Q. Mr Bruce was asked for clarity on the issue of alcohol being responsible for most “acquaintance” crimes and the recommendations the CSVR had made in its report around restricting the liquor trade.

A. Mr Bruce replied that in almost all of the cases where “acquaintance” violence occurred, alcohol had been a factor, and that the media, via advertising, glamorised alcohol consumption as something that was associated with success. Similar campaigns were used for cigarettes, before tobacco advertising was virtually outlawed as a result of concerns around the serious health risks associated with smoking. He noted that in some major South American cities like Bogota, the authorities had introduced stricter measures to deal with the escalation in crime due to alcohol consumption by introducing various restrictions that governed the liquor industry.

The briefing was adjourned.

25 AUGUST 2008


Today, we want to share with you the various aspects of the submission we made to the recent Cabinet Lekgotla and the decisions that were taken further to advance the work of the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster. Our submission, in the main, was an implementation report-back following the strategic decisions that were taken at the January Lekgotla. The matters we covered, therefore, will be familiar to the media given that we gave a media briefing after that Lekgotla.

The report we gave to the recent Lekgotla, therefore, dealt with the following aspects:
The Review of the Criminal Justice System;
Serious and Violent Crime;
The Detention and Rehabilitation of offenders;
Issues relating to Migration; and
The protection of Major Events.


The Review of the Criminal Justice System has become the leading project of the JCPS cluster. It is the crucible that must temper the work of the Integrated Criminal Justice System (ICJS). The review, which was given impetus by the partnership we have with big business, seeks to overhaul the Criminal Justice System and, through an effective system of management and coordination, define a process of seamless interconnection between investigations and arrests; prosecutions and adjudication, and detention and rehabilitation.

The Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Mr Johnny de Lange, has already briefed the media on what is entailed in the project and some of the work that has already been done en route to the implementation of all aspects relating to the revamp of the system. This briefing will not repeat what has already been announced, save to emphasize just a few points.

It is the cluster’s intention to build a solid foundation for the overhauled system because an effective Criminal Justice System is the best guarantor for the reduction of crime. Our project drastically to reduce organized and serious and violent crime will produce better outcomes within the context of a better performing Criminal Justice System.

We are not going to given timelines for the completion of the project but only to say that there are aspects thereof, relating in the main to the establishment of the various structures that will be the bricks and mortar of the revamped system, and administrative measures that will facilitate the work going forward.

Other changes we envisage may require amendments to the relevant law. Such changes, therefore, may have to be considered in next year’s parliamentary programme as this year’s list of new laws and amendments has been finalized.

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development is leading the project to revamp the Criminal Justice System.


The cluster’s Crime Reduction Project continues to be dictated to by the 7-10% annual target that was set by government in 2004. The 6.4% average reduction achieved during the 2007/08 Financial Year, while it still fell short of government’s annual target, was an improvement on previous years.

Serious and violent Crime

The SAPS Annual Report for 2007/08 shows, yet again, that most cases of serious and violent crime happen to people who know one other, in circumstances where both victim and perpetrator are mostly found. The perpetrators are usually related to the victims or are family friends or acquaintances.

The report further shows that, within the context of those social crimes, there were 17 361 murder and attempted murder cases during that Financial Year. There were also 17 554 rape and attempted rape cases. There were 136 996 cases of serious and violent assault (91 509) and common assault (45 487).

More than one million and two hundred perpetrators were arrested for priority crimes (508 387) and other crimes (766 215).

Children in conflict with the law

We also raised at the Lekgotla the question of young people and violence. The matter has become topical in recent times because of some of the violent attacks young people mount against other youth, teachers and some members of society.

By the end of May there were 3 478 children in detention at various centres in the country. The figure includes children who are awaiting trial at the places of safety run by the Department of Social Development (1 669) and at Correctional Services facilities (820). Children already sentenced at correctional facilities are 889.

The top six crimes committed by the children are murder, rape, serious and violent assault, robbery aggravated, house breaking and theft. There are 80 children who are serving sentences for murder. Five of them are girls. On hundred and fifteen (115) boys are serving sentences for rape. But, there are 130 other children awaiting trial who will face charges of murder. Four of them are girls. One hundred and seventy-eight (178) boys will face charges of rape. 

The Lekgotla decided that government would put more resources to the Moral Regeneration Campaign to deal with social crime and children in conflict with the law. Of course, there will be an aggressive campaign to mobilize society, especially parents, to take responsibility for the upbringing of children to instill in them clean moral scrupples.

Remand detention systems

The Cluster established an interdepartmental team to handle the matter of overcrowding of Awaiting Trial Detainees across the country, with a view to reducing overcrowding and enhance better management of ADTs. By the end of 2007/08 financial year there were 93 869 ADTs in South Africa.

Eleven remand detention facilities have been established at Pollsmoor, Grootvlei, Pietermaritzburg, Durban Medium A, St Albans, Pretoria Local, Johannesburg Medium A, Potchefstroom, Mthatha Medium Modderbee and Boksburg.


Border control system

The SAPS and SANDF met early last month to re-assess the country’s border control strategy in order to address any weaknesses that may be militating against effective control measures.

It was consequently decided that there was an urgent need to define new tactics to deal with the matter. Advanced technology will be deployed to enhance border control. Such measures include the deployment on our borders of a new satellite system to be used for borderline and air surveillance. There will be greater use of various types of helicopters and fixed wing aircraft that will be fitted with technology that will enable them to download intelligence to command centres. Sensors linked to Echo stations will also be used at certain parts of the borderline. Observation posts will be established as part of the strategy to secure the country’s borders.

Border patrols, to be divided into sectors to facilitate patrolling, will be comprised of carefully selected human resources. The patrols will be strengthened by airborne reaction teams.

Intelligence nodal points will be created to receive tactical intelligence. The intelligence community, working with the Organized Crime Combating Units, will identify areas of illegal crossing for the necessary intervention by the patrolling teams.

South Africa’s radar picture is also receiving attention given its key role in air surveillance.


Cross border migration was brought to the fore in a dramatic way recently, when criminal attacks were launched against some South Africans and foreign nationals.  

Cross border and internal migration have become a serious problem for law enforcement. Both cross border and internal migrants establish themselves in informal settlements. Most of them have no jobs and live in squalor, while others are drawn into crime to make a living.

Most of the informal settlements have no properly laid out streets and have no street lighting. There are no reference points to facilitate investigations. Children in those areas have no access to recreation facilities to keep them away from crime.

Internal migration is a world-wide problem relating to urbanization. It has seen in South Africa the mushrooming of almost 3 000 informal settlements.

A study commissioned by the Department of Housing has revealed that between 1996 and 2001, 5.5 million people migrated across South Africa. The majority of those internal migrants went to urban areas. The consequence is that Gauteng has 639 informal settlements.  It is followed by KZN (618) and the Eastern Cape (416). Cross border migrants have found it easy to ensconce themselves into the informal settlements.

Some of those foreign nationals were targeted for attack recently. There were South Africans who were also attacked and, of the 62 people who were murdered in the frenzy, South Africans made up the biggest number as a block, at 22.


It is a matter of common course that the temporary shelters in Gauteng are going to shut down by the end of September in terms of the ruling the other day by the Constitutional Court.

Out of almost 40 000 people who were displaced as a consequence of the attacks on foreign nationals and some South Africans there are now just over 6 000 foreign nationals at the temporary shelters who have not been reintegrated. The greater number is in the Western Cape where 3 400 displacees are still at the shelters. In Gauteng there are 2 606 people at the shelters. The biggest number thereof is comprised of 1 580 people who are at the shelter near the Rand Airport.

The law-enforcement agencies arrested more than 1 000 people who are facing charges of murder, attempted murder,, destruction of property and intimidation. A total of 1446 suspects, involved in 421 cases, is before court. The cases are at various stages of prosecution.

Cross Border Migration

The matter of cross border migration is one of the difficult matters that SADC is addressing as part of its Protocol on the Facilitation of Movement of Persons. The matter was on the agenda of the SADC Ministerial Committee of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation when it met in Durban in July. The protocol has not entered into force because only nine member states have signed it.

Related to the Protocol is the implementation of the UNIVISA which should have been done by this year in terms of a decision by the Regional Tourism Organization of Southern Africa (RETOSA). The UNIVISA is the Protocol on Development of Tourism that was signed by 13 member states in 1998.

The JCPS Cluster will be part of a special workshop that will be hosted by South Africa to deal with the matter.

Major Events

The SAPS will be responsible for securing large major events from July 2008 up to FIFA 2010 World Cup in June/July 2010. These include the FIFA Confederation Cup (2009); British Lions Rugby Tour (20 May–4 July 2009); SADC Heads of State Summit (August 2008); Africa Diaspora Summit (7-12 November 2008); International World Health Conference (1July 2009) and general elections (2009).

 Security arrangements in preparation for the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup include the deployment of a targeted number of 3000 Railway Police Officers who will be in place by 2010. The number will be boosted by 950 security guards to be deployed to 28 contact points and intercity rail travel, respectively.

Currently the security forces are conducting simulated operations in various provinces to showcase their readiness in dealing with the 2010 soccer event. Some of the simulations were conducted in Port Elizabeth and Bloemfontein. The Cluster is confident that the 2010 event will be successfully secured in the same way as we did during other major events.


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