"Some Critical Reflections on the Governance of Crime in Post-Apartheid South Africa"

By Okereafoezeke, Nonso | African Journal of Criminology and Justice Studies : AJCJS, November 2005 | Go to article overview

"Some Critical Reflections on the Governance of Crime in Post-Apartheid South Africa"


Okereafoezeke, Nonso, African Journal of Criminology and Justice Studies : AJCJS


"Some Critical Reflections on the Governance of Crime in Post-Apartheid South Africa", by Anne-Marie Singh In Transnational & Comparative Criminology, edited by James Sheptycki & Ali Wardak, 2005, Glasshouse Press, 375 pages

Social control, particularly policing, in a contemporary society is generally regarded as a shared responsibility involving the government, on the one hand, and the governed, on the other hand. "Government" refers to the official personnel, agencies, and institutions of a modern State and its constituent divisions. The "governed" are the private citizens of a society as well as the non-governmental groups, organizations, and institutions in the society. Although the government plays a critical role in the social control of a modern State, the government's effort will meet with limited success if the governed withhold their participation. In particular, business organizations and companies have the capacity to contribute to increased social control because of the financial resources at their disposal. Perhaps, with the foregoing in mind, Anne-Marie Singh in this chapter analyzes the role of business in crime control efforts in post-apartheid South Africa (SA).

According to Singh, the Nedcor Project on Crime, Violence and Investment (Nedcor Project) and Business Against Crime (BAC) illustrate the role of business in crime control efforts in post-apartheid SA. Both initiatives were established in 1995. The Nedcor Project recognizes that crime prevention and control rest ultimately and exclusively with government. However, the Project aims to educate business on how business persons and groups could contribute to crime prevention and control. For the Nedcor Project, the Cellwatch Program exemplifies crime-fighting involving joint efforts. Cellwatch entails multiple eyes (including cellular phone users, a radio station and its listeners, and the police) looking for reported stolen motor vehicles, thus heightening the chances of recovery.

In the Nedcor Project, the respective roles of the government and business are couched as a partnership, with business primarily interested in the impact of crime and violence on business investments. In fact, a Nedcor Project survey found that foreign companies tend to associate violent crimes with political instability. Also, the Project is designed to gather and maintain a crime-related databank on crime "causes, cycles, victims, perpetrators, frequency, costs, etc" (p. 138). The databank is intended to assist programs designed to reduce crime levels and their impact on the SA economy. Business Against Crime (BAC), like the Nedcor Project, believes that investor concerns could be lessened through the provision of accurate crime data. That is, numbers, properly presented, can serve to reassure otherwise anxious investors.

Business Against Crime (BAC) resulted from the SA government appeal for cooperation between the private and public sectors to tackle crime, corruption, and violence. A conference (BIACC) organized after the appeal eventually led to BAC. The BIACC conference pictured the following projects as important initiatives for crime control in SA: "Community Police Force Forums, reward schemes for identifying criminals [and] crimewatch phone, TV and radio services" (p. …

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