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'Less crime, quicker prosecutions' in SA

25 June 2012

There was a general decrease in crime levels in South Africa in the first quarter of the year when compared to the same period last year, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe told journalists in Pretoria on Monday.

"The overall serious crime went down by 0.5% in the [January to March] quarter compared to the same period last year," Radebe said, while contact crimes decreased by 1.2%.

The minister said that detective and intelligence work had been intensified to ensure that those involved in ATM bombings were arrested and successfully prosecuted.

These heightened detective and intelligence operations would continue during 2012/13 and would be extended to cover all serious crime categories, he added.

Cybercrime

Noting that the Cabinet had approved a cyber-security policy framework in March, Radebe said a total of 155 cybercrime matters had been finalised during the past financial year.

"It appears that the majority of cases involved unlawful electronic fund transfers or fraud, where the password of the complainant was obtained or cloned cards were used," he said.

Faster prosecutions

Regarding South Africa's courts, Radebe said that new case flow management practices and guidelines adopted in the lower courts would help to speed up the resolution of cases in the country.

He said that, during 2011/12, the courts had finalised 232% more cases involving rape, murder and assault than the previous year.

A total of 1 777 cases (up from 535 in 2010/11), comprising 2 152 counts of rape, murder and assault crimes, had been finalised, with a conviction rate of 89%.

Organised and environmental crime

Detailing other cases, Radebe said that, during 2011/12:

  • 192 trial cases of organised crime, included five racketeering convictions as well as 25 counts of money-laundering, had been finalised.
  • The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) had handed down seven prison sentences in the 66 environmental crimes cases it had prosecuted.
  • The NPA had participated in a multi-departmental project to tackle the poaching of rhinos in the country. Twenty-four cases had been finalised, with convictions in 20 cases involving 28 accused - a conviction rate of 83%.

Radebe said the Asset Forfeiture Unit, in co-operation with the elite anti-crime unit the Hawks, had been able to reclaim R131-million - the largest amount ever reclaimed by the unit - and pay this out to victims of crime and to the Criminal Assets Recovery Account. The unit had also been able to freeze a further R540-million during the year.

Source: BuaNews

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