Justice cluster details crime busting plan, insists unrest is not xenophobic

 

 

Cabinet’s security cluster has detailed its plans to deal with gender-based violence and ongoing xenophobic protests targeting migrants from African countries.

On Tuesday the justice, crime prevention and security (JCPS) cluster — which comprises 11 national departments, including state security, defence, police, and justice — outlined several interventions to help quell recent violent incidents.

On protests targeting migrants, the cluster said crime intelligence and early warning systems have prevented several flare-ups

But the government remains firm that the protests are not due to anti-immigrant sentiment.

“The evidence presented to the JCPS cluster has not shown that foreign nationals are being targeted because of their nationality. On the contrary, we are seeing acts of criminality,” Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said.


So far, 12 people have died in nearly two weeks of protests, mainly focused in Gauteng. Two of the fatalities were foreign nationals, while ten were South African citizens.

More than 700 people have been arrested on charges ranging from public violence, arson, theft, gun offences, and murder.

“South Africa is not a xenophobic country. Whoever is found on the wrong side of the law with be dealt with,” said the defence minister.

The minister said intelligence services are working to detect violent incidents.

“A lot has been nipped in the bud. Intelligence-driven investigations are ongoing to identify suspects and ring leaders.”

However, none of the security cluster ministers at the briefing in Parliament would clearly identify who they believe stands to benefit from ongoing instability.

“We don’t know who’s behind the unrest. But suppose we had that information. Would that be open to the public? Or would we be using that to prevent what is happening…There are elements of criminals who are taking advantage of the concerns of ordinary South Africans,” she said

Ministers also reported back on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s assurances last week that his government will ensure perpetrators of gender-based crimes are convicted and punished.

The government said police and the National Prosecution Authority will set up a committee to look into all cold cases involving sexuall offences and gender-based violence.

“SAPS has committed to training more female police officers to deal with victims of crimes against women and children at station level. This will go a long way in ensuring victims are not subjected to secondary victimisation,” said Mapisa-Nqakula.

Ministers also are looking into implementing stringent bail conditions for people charged with a gender-based crime, and even the possibility of denying bail for anyone previously convicted of a sexual-related offence.

But Justice Minister Ronald Lamola said the first step must be determined if that would be in line with the constitutional provision of the presumption of innocence until proven guilty by a court of law.

“We have to look into what the constitution says about due process. But magistrates are able to take into consideration the concerns of the community… Our communities are unambiguous about what is currently happening, and they want stricter bail conditions. So it is something to be considered,” Lamola said.

As per President Ramaphosa’s instruction, unsolved sexual offence cases will also be reopened, while SAPS has committed to training more female officers at station level to deal with victims of crimes against women and children.

Police management also plans meetings with the heads of tertiary institutions in an effort to reassess campus security to keep female students safe.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Lester Kiewit
Lester Kiewit
Lester Kiewit is a Reporter, Journalist, and Broadcaster.

Related stories

Advertising

Subscribers only

Poachers in prisons tell their stories

Interviews with offenders provide insight into the structure of illegal wildlife trade networks

Covid-overflow hospital in ruins as SIU investigates

A high-level probe has begun into hundreds of millions of rand spent by the Gauteng health department to refurbish a hospital that is now seven months behind schedule – and lying empty

More top stories

The politics of the Zuma-Zondo showdown

Any move made by the Zondo commission head or by former president Jacob Zuma must be calculated, because one mistake from either side could lead to a political fallout

Museveni declared winner of disputed Uganda election

Security personnel out in force as longtime president wins sixth term and main challenger Bobi Wine alleges rigging.

Pay-TV inquiry probes the Multichoice monopoly

Africa’s largest subscription television operator says it is under threat amid the emerging popularity of global platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime

‘No one took us seriously’: Black cops warned about racist...

Allegations of racism against the Capitol Police are nothing new: Over 250 Black cops have sued the department since 2001. Some of those former officers now say it’s no surprise white nationalists were able to storm the building
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…