Tonnes of ink and paper have been expended in producing copy about the pressing need to reform the South African Police Service.

Unfortunately, Bheki Cele, the Minister of Police, is big on talk and lacking in action. He is largely a caricature of a minister who has become less worthy of our trust and each time he opens his mouth, we have difficulty in taking him seriously.

The Global Organised Crime Index, published by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime (GI-TOC), which provides the primary assessment of criminal economies in 193 UN member states, ranked Mzansi 19th out of 193 countries on organised crime activity. South Africa scored 6.63 out of 10 in the Criminality Scores.

In Criminal actor Scores we are ranked number 16. Out of 10, we scored 7.25 Criminal Actors – Mafia-Style Groups 7.0, Criminal Networks 7.0, State-Embedded Actors 7.5, Foreign Actors 7.5. We are number 33 in the Criminal Market Scores. Criminal Markets (Average) 6.00. Human Trafficking 4.5, Human Smuggling 4.0, Arms Trafficking 8.0, Flora Crimes 3.5, Fauna Crimes 7.5.

The Global Organised Crime Index states: “Meanwhile, drug gangs in South Africa illicitly acquired guns sourced from the country’s police armoury over a number of years – weapons that had been due for destruction – and this has helped fuel the abnormally high murder rate in the country.

“The widespread nature and impact of arms trafficking also come as no surprise.

Whether illegally produced, recycled from past conflicts or diverted from government stockpiles, the circulation of arms not only fuels violence and conflict, but contributes to furthering other illicit markets.”

The analysis also states clearly that countries with high levels of perceived corruption are highly likely to also have low levels of resilience to organised crime.

“This is due, to a large extent, due to the a wide gamut that corruption runs, from the highest levels of government to the judiciary, prison systems, border control and other law enforcement agencies, as it eroded the frameworks and mechanisms needed to combat organised crime effectively,” the report continues.

It comes as no surprise to many South Africans that the report categorically asserts that state-embedded actors are the most dominant criminal actor-type in the world. The degree to which criminality permeates state institutions varies, from low-level corruption to full state capture.

“Across the spectrum, this involvement has implications for a country’s capacity to respond to organised crime. One of the strongest correlations emerging from the Index was found to be between the presence of state-embedded criminal actors and poor resilience which suggests that those actors may be undermining the capacity and resilience of the state to prevent illicit flows.”

Without doubt, we are keenly aware that there is nobody in the corridors of power, who has a clue of what the report means when it states: “populations that live in an environment with a high incidence of organised crime are particularly vulnerable to criminal influence, which, if not addressed adequately, can permeate the political, social, economic and security spheres of communities, becoming embedded in societies and leaving little room for formal, legal and legitimate activities to gain traction.”

What makes a country more vulnerable to organised crime? Asks the report. Unsurprisingly, the response has been a staple for many commentators and observers.
“The relationship between certain macro-economic indicators, such as unemployment or inequality and organised crime is fairly straightforward: tackle the former and you are likely to see a reduction in the latter.”

Crime statistics released in August by Cele give a clear indication that the murder rate is unacceptably high. There are people who have said South Africa’s murder rate is about six times the global average. This simply means that not a single one of us is safe.

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