Our crime statistics paint a clear picture – our county’s murder and rape rates are amongst the world’s highest. Crime is something that affects all South Africans, across colour and language borders, and income groups. It is everyone’s problem. Not only is it about the day-to-day safety of South Africans, but also in the course of time the high levels of violence lead to a decrease in tourism and harm investment and economic growth. Recent studies confirmed this.
The NP believes that the fight against crime must be tackled hostically. The Department of Safety and Security can therefore not function in isolation, but the whole criminal justice system must be streamlined and made more effective.
The Department of safety and Security, in conjunction with the Departments of Justice and Correctional Services, must therefore ensure that:
- criminals are arrested, and appear before our courts without delay
- more courts are built
- police stations are equipped with trauma rooms for victims of sexual violence
- more state prosecutors are appointed to counter-act the backlog on our court rolls by
finalising cases more speedily
- our bail system is better controlled and
- prisoners are not released early or qualify for early parole.
People, who use private security companies and have alarms in their homes, should be able to deduct these costs from tax.
But the holistic approach in the fight against crime also means that all levels of government must take hands in order to combat crime. At local government level safety and security plans should be drawn up. This can be done through local policing, and better cooperation with the business community, community policing forums, neighbourhood watch systems and security companies. Closed circuit television cameras that are being put up in our business districts, will also contribute to the combating of crime.
Government and the community must therefore stand together against crime. In short: The NP believes that crime can only be combated effectively by upgrading the whole criminal justice system so that criminals are effectively prosecuted. This can only be done through the reprioritisation of the budget to make available much-needed funds to the police, prisons and justice systems, and by ensuring that these sectors have the necessary human resources as well. The correct utilisation of resources must also be ensured.
The NP believes South Africa is your country too. You and your children deserve a fair share in a safe environment. The NP will work to help create a society in which all South Africans feel safe and are able to develop to their full potential.
Therefore the NP believes that, in the case of serious criminal offences, such as murder, rape and drug suppliers, the death penalty is the only suitable punishment. The rights of criminals, who commit senseless and brutal violence, cannot be regarded as being more important than the rights of innocent victims. The NP believes that the death penalty will also serve as deterrent to prevent criminals from committing crime.
At local level comprehensive safety and security planning must be instituted. The NP knows this can be done through local policing and better cooperation with the business community, community policing for a, neighbourhood watch systems and private security companies. Government, the police and the community must stand together against crime.
You have the right to live in peace and work in a safe environment. The NP works for a community in which all South Africans will be safe. The NP says we have had enough talk, rhetoric and endless promises. The NP will come forward with action!
Across South Africa, we must secure our communities, our streets, our homes and our families from the effects of crime and violence. This is an issue so serious, and so emotionally charged, that it must never be reduced to the level of cynical political posturing.
The NP understands that the current levels of crime – especially organised, gang-related crime – are the result of decades of neglect which allowed criminal organisations to firmly take root in our communities, and our culture.
As a problem which has built up over a long period of time, there are no quick-fix solutions – despite what certain irresponsible political parties might claim. The best, and only sustainable approach is to tackle crime head-on, in partnership with all communities, and on a number of fronts.
Unfortunately parties like the DA have chosen to exploit these problems and create a political issue out of safety and policing, making rhetorical noises about what is wrong with South Africa, whilst offering only superficial solutions. It is not enough to scream and shout about the need for more police, more courts, and more prisons and then offer the lame-duck view that funding must simply be made available to bring this about.
Crime, especially organised crime, is not a problem which we will be able to solve in a matter of days or weeks – it is deeply rooted in poverty, and has been allowed to grow relatively unchecked for many years. But we are determined to take back our communities.
CREATION OF A SEXUAL OFFENDERS REGISTER
The NP strongly supports the idea of establishing a register consisting of the names of sexual offenders – in fact, it’s a necessity for the protection of our women and children. It will prevent such offenders from being allowed to be placed in positions of care over women and children.
The rational behind it is simple – if people don’t pay their bills, their names appear on a credit bureau list. The lives of crime victims are more important than any amount of money.
At the moment, a register does exist containing criminal records of all offenders, in other words, also non-sexual offenders. This is known as the “SAP 69”, and is used by the South African Police Service. This register is however not open to the public and therefore not accessible.
The NP proposes that a new sexual offences register be established. The register should contain the names of all convicted sexual offenders and be a public, easily accessible document. This will also enable the police to better monitor and track convicted sex offenders.
CORRUPT POLICE OFFICIALS: NAME AND SHAME
The NP believes that corrupt police officials and general corruption in the SAPS must be rooted out at all costs. To this end, we propose that a list be compiled of all police officials who have been found guilty of corruption and fraud in the delivery and execution of their duties. We must name and shame these officials who abuse their fiduciary duties. The NP will also push for better management in the ranks of the police right through to the lowest level.
INCREASE NUMBER OF POLICE
We will tackle the criminals head-on in their own territory, and we will win. We must address the policing shortages which have plagued our communities and which former administrations did little to combat.
We are committed to ongoing negotiations with the National Government and with local governments across the country to increase the number of police. The majority of these policemen and women will be employed in active service, in the field, to make a difference there where it is most needed.
Furthermore, police stations should not only be a place where crimes are reported, but also a place where victims will feel protected and which instills confidence in people that they are being heard. Crime statistics show that victim support is at least as pressing as the need for more police.
The NP is of the view that too many South African children are victims and witnesses of crime. These children need to receive counselling to prevent further long-term damage. But who should pay for this?
How much longer must communities robbed of their children plead for enough money to afford a proper funeral, depend on the charity of neighbours and go without counselling?
Every South African is at risk. If you are poor, unemployed, a woman or a child, the chances are even higher that you will be a victim of violent crime. The reality is that the victims of violent crime are most often those who are least able to afford the resulting losses. Medical costs, funerals, counselling, lost working days, damage to property and many other costs are crippling most victims – especially victims of violent crimes.
It has been established that a fund to pay compensation to all crime victims would b almost totally unaffordable for South Africa – costing in the region of R5 billion a year. The NP believes though, that we must make a start – at the very least to offer limited support to the families of those who have been killed by violent crime, and especially to minor children who are left without bread-winners or are in need of counselling.
Possible sources of funding for the establishment of a first phase of such a fund, which the NP would support, include:
- The National Lottery – which we believe should provide a substantial portion of the
seed funding, as well as a large annual contribution.
- Fines paid and bail money that is forfeited.
- An additional financial charge levied against all convicted offenders.
- Asset forfeiture – using the proceeds of crime to support and empower the victims.
- Direct funding from National Government – since Government spends between R300
million and R400 million every year on providing legal defence to those accused of
crimes, at least a similar amount would be appropriate for victim compensation.
- Voluntary contributions from the private sector.
- Further taxation of the purchase of alcohol.
CCTV AND INFRASTRUCTURE
With the escalating crime levels, more closed circuit television cameras in crime hotspots will help the South African Police Service as a crime prevention tool. Closed circuit television has many advantages:
- It serves as a deterrent factor.
- It is a personnel multiplier.
- Recorded video tapes are used as evidence in a court of law, which shortens the
- investigation process, and increases the number of convictions.
- It contributes to the creation of a safe and secure environment;
- It can be used for identification purposes.
- It can be used to secure big events.
- It creates business confidence and trust.
Therefore the NP will ensure that more closed circuit television cameras are installed and used to combat crime. There are already more than 400 CCTV cameras in business districts in South Africa, with the highest number in the Western Cape with 144 and Gauteng with 135. According to the Department of Safety and Security, crime levels have dropped since the installation of these cameras.
MORE WELL-FUNCTIONING COURTS
Our criminal justice system is also receiving real and much-needed attention.
The NP believes that we need more courts, especially specialised courts such as municipal and traffic courts, which will assist in decreasing the existing backlogs in our courts and in the speedy finalisation of cases. Traffic officers are also important for the effective functioning of traffic courts. Traffic police officers are vital to ensure safety on our roads within our communities.
The NP believes that crime is best fought at grassroots level – in our communities. For this purpose, we believe that each suburb should have a well-established and well-functioning neighbourhood watch system. We will ensure this by assisting our communities with the establishment of such systems.
CONSTABULARY IN RURAL AREAS
The NP proposes an alternative to the phased-out Commando system – the SA Constabulary. In peacetime this Constabulary will focus on protecting and supporting communities in various ways (general crime-prevention patrols, roadblocks, anti-drug operations, crowd/riot control, border control and disaster relief, and in times of war assist the SANDF with internal security, border control and other functions.
The NP proposes that the Constabulary consist of a mobile, lightly-armed patrol force, comprising both full-time and part-time elements, and incorporating not only elements of the Territorial Reserve (the Commandos), but also personnel from a number of other sources. All SA Constabulary units, whether ull-time or part-time would be specifically trained for their dual role. It would be incorrect – as a matter of principle – for the SA Constabulary to be funded from the normal defence budget in times of peace. The NP therefore proposes that funding take place in two primary ways: a special allocation of State Funding in the form of a new ring-fenced line allocation of the Defence Vote, and a substantial allocation from the profit of the National Lottery.
The effectiveness of the new system also depends heavily on the involvement of reservists. It is therefore important that farmers and farm workers are mobilised and encouraged to get involved in the new initiative as reservists.
GOVERNMENT CRIME STATISTICS
Crime statistics should not be seen as a measuring stick, whereby the ineffectiveness of the police and Government is being measured. Nor should there only be a focus on the negative aspects of it, but also on the successes and achievements of the past year. The statistics can only be compiled on the basis of reported cases of crime by members of the public and prevention programmes by the police.
Members of the public must find it possible to obtain information regarding crime trends and crime statistics from members of the SAPS at station level. They should also be able to obtain information on where and when certain categories of crime are committed.
The NP believes the Minister of Safety and Security should release crime statistics on a quarterly basis in an effort to keep the nation accurately informed about the crime situation in South Africa. The statistics should also be made available per each police station, as we believe that the public have the right to know how safe their areas are, as well as the areas in which their children attend school. By making the statistics available per police station, in other words not nationally, one could also hold the specific station commander accountable and will be in a better position to monitor crime in certain areas.
The NP supports the possible amnesty for illegal firearms. After calculating how many firearms were confiscated by the South African Police Service and how many of these firearms were linked to crimes, the NP is even more in favour of the possible general amnesty for people who want to hand over firearms to the authorities.
In 2001: 19 744 firearms were recovered.
In 2002: 21 601 recoveries were made.
Most recoveries were made in Kwa-Zulu Natal with 11 635 firearms confiscated in 2 year, Gauteng 10 437 and Limpopo 6122. For a period of 2001 and 2002, 900 of these firearms were linked to crimes.
If the Minister of Safety and Security decides on another firearm amnesty, it should be made clear to the public that it would not be a blanket amnesty, but that the South African Police Service will check to see if any of these firearms are linked to criminal activity. Illegal firearms need to be taken off the streets.
The NP policy on corruption is one of zero tolerance. If not combated, corruption has tragic consequences for any country, province, local administration or company. The NP wants to ensure that policy is applied effectively in the public sector and without corruption or harassment in order to ensure that service delivery improves and growth is facilitated in the private sector. Corruption the public sector is out of control and the NP will introduce special Corruption courts for politicians and civil servants. We will not let the current corrupt system continuo under NP control. The millions that are unaccounted for could provide thousands of the poor with jobs, houses and a better life in general. Enough is enough!
The NP acknowledges that corruption is a major cause of poverty. In 2009, the electorate will have to ensure they vote for a party that will turns corruption into a better life for the poorest among us. The NP is in favour of establishing community norms according to which honesty and justice are put first. The moral authority of religion in South Africa could also serve as a powerful instrument to return honesty and justice to society and everyday life in South Africa.
The NP wants to promote institutional accountability. The NP, for example, encourages parent associations, especially in poorer communities, to demand value for their money, and to hold teachers accountable for the execution of duties. This principle applies to other fields as well.
The NP advocates a full-scale onslaught against gang violence. Currently the police only treats the symptoms of gangs and gang violence – the answer lies in the general upliftment of the community. Gangs are a consequence of poverty and have changed into a culture of criminality. The NP believes that children should be warned against gangs and gang violence at a very young age in schools in gang-ridden areas by presenting a structured course.
LIFE MEANS LIFE
Life sentences should mean exactly that: LIFE. The NP believes that harsher sentences should be enforced by our courts and that bail conditions should be stricter. The options of early parole for prisoners should also be used sparingly. A life sentence means nothing if a criminal is released after 15 years, in other words, life should mean life.