South Africa has one of the highest levels of crime in the world. Law-abiding citizens live in fear while criminals operate with impunity. Increasing economic inequality, a lack of opportunity, a feeling of hopelessness, and ever-increasing levels of corruption are all contributing to the deterioration of the rule of law in South Africa. This is damaging our nation’s international reputation and our economic potential.
We must act as one to overcome the following constraints to the rule of law in South Africa:
Corruption: looting resources meant for the most vulnerable members of our society has become an integral part of the ANC’s modus operandi.
Crime and security: the myriad of societal problems caused by the political mismanagement of South Africa’s democratic era means that millions of South Africans live in poverty, and too many people are forced to turn to crime to support themselves and their families.
Political interference in law enforcement: the performance of the South African Police Service and National Prosecution Authority has deteriorated due to a concerted effort to destroy the institutions that are capable of holding corrupt politicians and civil servants accountable for their criminal behaviour.
The criminal justice system: South African courts are overburdened, and correctional services fail to rehabilitate criminals that have been sent to prison.
Gender-based violence: South African men are responsible for unacceptable levels of violence against women. Women are limited in the exercise of their fundamental human rights, and the scourge of GBV and government’s inaction must be viewed as one of our country’s greatest embarrassments.
What We Believe
No country can flourish and no economy can grow in a state of chaos. We must act as one to build a safe and secure South Africa where criminals cannot act with impunity.
Tackling crime and violence in South Africa requires addressing the underlying socio-economic drivers of crime while ensuring that a capable and well-resourced Criminal Justice System prosecutes all offenders.
Greed and corruption in the state and private sector are the greatest obstacles to overcoming the legacy of our past. We must act as one against corruption and declare it as Public Enemy Number 1.
Crime and violence undermine our social stability and economic confidence. We must overhaul our Criminal Justice System and empower our Law Enforcement Agencies to ensure that it is criminals, and not law-abiding citizens, that live in fear.
We must act as one against gender-based violence.
Our immigration system must be overhauled to attract skilled migrants, while clamping down on the influx of undocumented migrants through our porous borders. The failures of Home Affairs undermine the rights of South African nationals and foreigners alike.
Restore pride in the police uniform and badge, and improve the quality of the police force by increasing qualification criteria, drastically improving training, and improving the working conditions of law enforcement officers.
Depoliticise the administrative institution of law enforcement and ensure that the SAPS can function without political interference. Executive appoints must be made solely on merit, competence and a commitment to ethical service.
Adopt technological advances to improve crime prevention.
Reintroduce specialised units to target priority crimes. This must be complemented by specialised courts to deal with certain categories of crime, such as grand corruption.
Improve the administrative performance of law enforcement agencies by allowing civilian specialists to fulfil administrative functions such as supply chain management, fleet management and human resources.
Increase sensitivity training and mental health support to police officers to ensure that they have the emotional intelligence required to deal with the high levels of stress associated with their jobs.
Ensure sufficient capacitation of South Africa’s intelligence services and develop mechanisms that ensure independence from political interference.
Increase the independence and performance of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate.
Address the underlying societal problems that force individuals to resort to crime, including inequality, poverty and unemployment, through a comprehensive approach to economic growth and social justice.
Cut the expenditure on VIP protection services to free up funds for policing services that will benefit society at large. Protection services for government officials and public office holders must not be standard, but must be provided only when legitimate threats exist.
Address South Africa’s high recidivism rate by improving conditions in prisons to allow for the rehabilitation of individuals that desire to become productive members of society.
Provide prisoners with the opportunity to develop skills through voluntary compensated work programmes and implement programmes of reintroducing rehabilitated individuals into the workforce.
Adopt responsible legislation allowing the use of less harmful recreational drugs such as marijuana and provide support to individuals inflicted with drug addiction.
Amend penal codes to ensure that repeat offenders and individuals guilty of committing violent crimes face harsher prescribed sentences.
Include a focus on educational efforts to ensure that citizens are aware of the impact that crime has on themselves and their communities, how corruption affects them and how to address the scourge of gender-based violence.
Increase access to mental health services, particularly for individuals with mental health challenges that may result in criminal behaviour if left untreated.
Address the capacity and resource shortages within the court system by increasing budgetary allocations and investing in technological advances that have the potential to improve the judicial process.
Reverse the damage done by the state capture project and ensure the independence of prosecution authorities and other independent institutions. This will include the removal of all politically connected officials from any of these institutions.
Improve law enforcement’s investigative capacity and competency by incorporating technological advances, improving training and increasing budgetary allocations.
Incentivise legal students to become prosecutors by providing attractive development and training options and reforming the legal fraternity by giving financial aid to article clerks from targeted population groups.
Acknowledge the limitations of the criminal justice system and reform safety and security as a societal issue, in part by increasing social support networks and adopting alternative measures of criminal justice.
ActionSA is categorically opposed to the proposed withdrawal of South Africa as a member International Criminal Court. We are committed to fighting for human rights on an international level.
We believe that South Africa must play a leading role in the promotion and protection of fundamental human rights in the global community. We particularly believe that we should be a champion of human rights on the African continent and should use international relations mechanisms to fight authoritarianism.
Strengthen international cooperation mechanisms to ensure South Africa plays a decisive role in global crime prevention and facilitate best practice exchanges to ensure that SAPS operates at the highest standards.
We commit ourselves to global agreements on climate change, and will actively treat the impending climate crisis with urgency.
We will cooperate closely with international and regional law enforcement agencies to battle the trade of illicit goods, including wildlife trafficking and to bring an end to human trafficking.
We will cooperate with international law enforcement agencies to capture and prosecute anyone with warrants issued by Interpol, the International Criminal Court or national law enforcement agencies.
We will use our influence in regional institutions such as SADC and the African Union to condemn and stand against authoritarian practices and human rights abuses.