Organized crime is increasing murder and kidnapping rates in South Africa

According to a report by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, rising rates of murder, extortion and kidnapping are among the signs that crime is posing an “existential” threat to South Africa.

The homicide rate has increased 38% since 2010, the number of kidnappings for ransom has quadrupled, and there is an annual impact of 187 billion rupees (10.6 billion dollars) from infrastructure theft such as looting of copper power cables, the Geneva-based group said in a report released Wednesday.

He said all of these are signs that the state is struggling to contain criminal activity.

“Organized crime is an existential threat to democratic institutions, the economy and the people of South Africa,” said Mark Shaw, the group’s director, in a 206-page introduction to the document.

“It often lies behind and connects numerous seemingly disparate criminal incidents that we see happening in South Africa every day.”

GI-TOC, as the group is known, blames the country’s apartheid history, which has led to poorer, once non-white areas being neglected by the state.

This was exacerbated by the weakening of state institutions during the nine-year rule of former president Jacob Zuma, who ousted his party in 2018.

While Zuma denied he was wrong, the current administration claimed that at least R500 billion was stolen during his rule. State corruption took root and public procurement budgets were looted.

‘Unprecedented support’

Zuma’s government was “driven by personality and personal interests,” GI-TOC said. This has led to political appointees in key positions at state-owned companies, resulting in “advocacy networks, which in turn have helped facilitate large-scale corruption and have enabled businesses and organized crime to secure a point of view. unprecedented support in the state apparatus “.

Organized crime in South Africa ranges from heroin and cocaine trafficking to human trafficking, rhino poaching and metal stealing to state energy, water and transportation companies.

Pipelines are targeted and unions request contracts from mining and construction companies, for which they are paid but do not fulfill.

Other problems include a wave of vigilante killings and a wave of cash robberies in transit. Cybercrime is also on the rise, with South Africa becoming the largest location of Internet protocol addresses used for digital extortion in Africa. Gold and platinum are illegally mined or stolen and sold illegally.

The homicide rate is currently over 40 per 100,000 citizens, and more than 10,000 people have been kidnapped for ransom purposes in the last evaluated year, GI-TOC said, citing government data.

“South Africa faces a complex and hybrid criminal threat. Having originated under extremely tight conditions during apartheid, organized crime has spread across the country and forged ties around the world in three decades, “the group said.

“Left unchecked, organized crime will continue to seriously damage South Africa’s reputation and development.”

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