Ministers renew crime fighter pledge


Justice minister Jeff Radebe, defence minister Lindiwe Sisulu, police minister Nathi Mthethwa, state security minister Siyabonga Cwele and two other ministers have renewed their commitment and strengthened their partnership in eradicating crime by co-signing a delivery agreement.

The ministers and Ministers of Home Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and Correctional Services Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula yesterday promised a transparent and coordinated approach in achieving Cabinet “Outcome 3: All People in South Africa Are and Feel Safe”, the state BuaNews agency reported.

The delivery agreement forms part of the 12 Outcomes approved by Cabinet earlier this year to improve performance and service delivery. Speaking at the signing ceremony, Radebe said that fighting crime was one of the priorities of government. He described Outcome 3 as a rallying call to all South Africans – with government in the lead – to work together in the fight against crime and corruption in order to build safer communities, BuaNews said.

Elaborating on the specifics of the delivery agreement, Radebe said it focused on targets for reducing serious and violent crime; new measures to fight corruption in the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster; improved management of caseloads in courts; regulations to combat cybercrime; and protecting the integrity of identity documents and citizenship status.
“The agreement pulls together all stakeholders in the criminal justice system and channels all efforts towards a common goal,” he added.

The JCPS Cluster intended on reducing crime by between 4% and 7%. This will be achieved through improved coordinated crime intelligence; increased visible policing and crime prevention initiatives; reduction in firearms; improved strategies to arrest and charge known perpetrators, and a reduction in the number of escapes from custody.

The cluster also aimed to strengthen the management of bail processes; improve forensic services and fingerprint management; implement social crime prevention programmes and activate more Community Safety Forums. Radebe said another of the Cluster’s targets was to improve the effectiveness of the criminal justice system by reducing case backlogs and increasing the number of cases finalised each year, BuaNews says.

The judiciary and director generals in the JCPS Cluster will meet every month to address issues impacting on court performance, he added. Attempts will also be made to reduce the average time spent by suspects awaiting trial, while increasing the involvement of offenders in rehabilitation programmes. The JCPS Cluster has also committed itself to producing a Corruption Baseline Report by December 2010, which will focus on the period from April 2009 to March 2010.

Included in the report will be information on JCPS staff who have been arrested and convicted of corruption, docket security, fraudulent parole decisions and the value of assets linked to corruption and fraud that had been restrained and seized. The country’s borders will also be prioritised and security at the borders improved. The interim structure of a Border Management Agency is expected to be established by next year.
“The South African National Defence Force will progressively be deployed to the borders with Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho, Botswana and Namibia by 2013,” Radebe said.

The cluster will also implement measures to protect the integrity of South Africa’s identity documents and citizenship status.

This includes new regulatory framework by March next year to address the late registration of births and ensuring that 99% of citizens, who have birth certificates and are above 16 years of age, are issued with identity documents by 2013.

Other legislation relating to births, deaths, citizenship and immigration policy will be reviewed and implemented. “Working with all partners in the fight against crime, the JCPS Cluster will deploy and manage our resources in a manner that will lead to safer communities where the people of our country are able to enjoy amenities of life,” Radebe said.