South Africa – Recent crime statistics indicate a steady rise in violent crime in South Africa. It appears as if the police force is losing the war against crime. The murder rate has increased by 11.5%, while attempted murder rose by 8.4% and carjacking by 14% in the first quarter of 2022 compared with the same period last year.
In order to win the war on crime, one needs to get to the root causes of crime, explained Ahmed Munzoor Shaik Emam, leader of the National Freedom Party in parliament. Only by eliminating these root causes can crime be tackled effectively. Rolling out thousands of police officers will not help to win the war against crime.
“First of all you have a very high unemployment rate. Then you have a high level of dysfunctional families. The availability of drugs and alcohol. Taverns and shebeens opened 24 hours a day. Added to that is the poor socio-economic conditions under which our people live. Malnutrition or hunger. Many of these people are going to bed hungry. Some of them are dying because of hunger. Water and sanitation and poor lighting in some of these areas that they live in. Now these are all just some of the contributing factors, added to that is the poor quality of basic education which does very little or nothing to attract learners to school.”
The solutions to the root causes of crime
Knowing the root causes of crime is one thing but one needs to have solutions in order to stop it. There are different solutions that can be implemented. One of the main solutions is having social workers visit schools in an effort to help those coming from dysfunctional homes, explained Emam.
“Some of the solutions we are suggesting are especially at school level, what you need to do is introduce something like social workers. They would work to identify learners that are coming from dysfunctional families or problematic families. Then have social workers deployed on the ground … roll them out into this community. Let them work together with civil society, organised policing forums, neighbourhood watch, anti-gender-based violence institutions and organisations. The moment you know and identify a home that there’s a problem, you need to go out there and solve that problem or assist them to get over it.”
It is important to remember that no child is born a murderer or rapist, said Emam. We need to understand where it all went wrong and work from there.
There are no short-term solutions
The solutions presented by Emam are all long-term solutions. Unfortunately, Emam is adamant there are no short-term solutions to the problems.
“If anyone tells you there’s a quick fix solution to this and they’re going to solve it in the next 12 months, I can tell you without any shadow of doubt they are misleading you … What you don’t have here in the country is a political will to be able to sort out these issues. For us we believe that we have to look at the long-term solution.”
It becomes even more apparent that long term solutions are the only solutions when you take a look at the justice system and the police system.
“The other problem you have is your criminal justice system. In fact, it favours the criminals more than the victims. You arrest them now and two hours later they’re out on bail. You need to tighten up on the criminal justice system. The other problem is this … you got some detectives sitting with docket loads of about 100 or 200 dockets. You can’t do justice to more than five or ten dockets if you want to investigate these things thoroughly and bring them to justice. How are you going to deal with 100 and 200? I can tell you there is no quick fix or immediate or short-term solution as far as crime is concerned.”
To win the war on crime, Emam is certain that children must be kept in school, laws need to be stricter and dysfunctional families have to be helped. It is the duty of every organisation in the country to come together to ensure these long term-solutions are implemented. Only through these solutions can the war on crime can be won and the children of South Africa have a brighter future.