Business feels effect of crime, says survey

Crime affects more than eight out of ten businesses in South Africa, a survey has found.


Eighty-four percent of medium-to-large privately held businesses in South Africa report that they, their staff or families of staff have been affected by personal contact crime over the past 12 months, according to Grant Thornton’s 2007 International Business Report (IBR).


It says nearly every business of the 200 surveyed has been affected by crimes such as housebreaking, hijacking, violent crime, road rage or similar. This statistic does not include the occurrence of white- and blue-collar crime within businesses.


It is not only the individual victim that is affected by such violent crime—the employer is also negatively impacted.

Of those medium-to-large privately held businesses affected by crime, 88% report having incurred increased costs for security, 65% report decreased productivity and motivation of staff and 41% report a decrease in creativity, ingenuity and resourcefulness of staff.


Says Leonard Brehm, national chairperson of Grant Thornton: “If our country is to meet the growth targets that have been set, all those working in South African business must be able to operate in a safe environment.

“This can only be achieved through strong and sustained action by government security agencies at all levels, supported by a culture of community participation in assisting with the detection and control of crime.”

Meanwhile, 75% of South African businesses believe the 2010 Soccer World Cup will benefit them financially, the survey revealed.

Of the 200 medium-to-large privately held businesses surveyed, 47% believe that the greatest benefit will be gained in the build-up to the event, while 14% expect to benefit during the event itself.

When asked what preparations respondents had undertaken to get maximum benefit of South Africa hosting the World Cup, 60% reported having looked at diversifying their product or service. Fifty-three percent are hiring more staff and 46% ware making additional capital investments into their businesses.

Other preparation also includes increasing geographic spread (33%) and importing (25%).—I-Net Bridge, Sapa

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