There is a menu of compliance strategies and tactics against Covid-19 from which to choose, and indeed there are no easy choices. The South African government has opted for a range of strict and arguably repressive practices to be employed by the security forces. Why were such choices made, especially when most other constitutional democracies have not (yet) adopted such a heavy-handed response? Part of the answer is linked to a deep-seated culture of punitiveness amongst the South African elite in terms of how ordinary South Africans (especially the poor) should be governed, combined with the militarisation of social control, particularly policing.
The fight against crime in the Western Cape received a significant boost as 500 new learner law enforcement officers took part in the official passing out parade, signaling the start of their deployment on Sunday, 09 February 2020 at Athlone Stadium.
What we’ve learned so far through knowledge management within the South African-German development cooperation
Illegal Anabolic-Androgenic steroid use is generally regarded as being trivial by law enforcement authorities, but the dangers are real. Continued AAS use can result in heart, liver and kidney diseases, as well as heart attack and stroke. How can we reduce the danger?
What is the existing empirical evidence linking Climate Change to violent conflict? On 5 March 2019, Gerald A. Moore, a research assistant at the Safety and Violence Initiative, interviewed Professor Michael Brzoska, a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy in Hamburg, who shared his research on the links between Climate Change and violent conflict from a global perspective and its particular relevance to South Africa.
South Africa has not had a formal national policy to improve public safety since 2004. This changed in 2016 when cabinet adopted the White Paper on Safety and Security. This is the government’s flagship policy on crime, safety and violence prevention. However, implementation is the key challenge. The White Paper on Safety and Security provides an opportunity for the government-in-waiting to take safety seriously, and to unite the civil service to end the country’s endemic crime and violence. Without implementation from the top, South Africa’s incoherent and criminal justice-heavy approach to crime will likely continue – with limited impact on the lives of its people.
Police work exposes one to the underbelly of society. Most South African Police Service (SAPS) officers will experience and possibly perpetrate violence long before they enter the service. Many probably continue to experience and use violence outside of work while employed as SAPS officers. Based on available data, SAPS officers are more likely to kill themselves than be killed on duty. It is not the SAPS that has set them up for this fate, but South Africa as a whole and the all-too-familiar but often unrecognised story about South African masculinity, violence and mental health played out in the context of policing.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa used his State of the Nation Address on February 7 to outline his relatively new government’s actions and plans. However, the crime prevention strategies he outlined were somewhat stale. Most, especially those related to policing and gender-based violence, have been tried before. They yielded few positive results and there is no evidence to suggest that they’ll work any better now.
Social cohesion has frequently been used in government policy documents in South Africa since the late-1990s. Be that as it may, there have been very few detailed analyses of the direct and indirect linkages between social cohesion and violence. That said, in the South African literature on collective violence, particularly those publications relating to vigilantism, violent community protests, and xenophobic violence, research findings have broadly implied that shared community grievances and prejudices about wellbeing, inadequate government services, and the erosion of social control may have contributed to social cohesion with the creation of specific activist groups and social movements.
As we celebrate 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, it is important to acknowledge that entrenched gender norms in South Africa create an environment in which gender-based violence is acceptable, and even worse, normalised. They inhibit effective implementation of laws intended to address violence against women and girls. It is therefore ever more important to engage adolescent boys and young men in the promotion of gender-equitable attitudes and norms, and influence their behaviours positively.