New White Paper on Safety and Security: An integrated approach to preventing violence and crime

  • 22 Jun 2016

New White Paper on Safety and Security: An integrated approach to preventing violence and crime – Blog

By 2030, South Africa will be a society in which all people:

  • Live in safe environments;
  • Play a role in creating and maintaining the safe environment;
  • Feel and are safe from crime and violence and conditions that contribute to it;
  • Have equal access and recourse to high quality services when affected by crime and violence

This is the vision of the 2016 White Paper on Safety and Security that was adopted by the South African Cabinet earlier this year as a new policy on safety, crime and violence prevention that promotes an integrated and holistic approach to safety and security in line with the National Development Plan (see chapter 12 on “Building Safer Communities”).

The general objective of the White Paper on Safety and Security is to:

  • Provide an overarching policy for safety, crime and violence prevention that will be articulated in a clear legislative and administrative framework to facilitate synergy and alignment of policies on safety and security; and
  • Facilitate the creation of a sustainable, well-resourced implementation and oversight mechanism, which will co-ordinate, monitor, evaluate and report on implementation of crime prevention priorities across all sectors.

Why a new White Paper?


To download the 2016 White Paper on Safety and Security as well as its annexures, click here.

Safety and security is not only a fundamental responsibility of the state (see Chapter 11 of the Constitution), but also a fundamental human right (see Chapter 2 of the Constitution) and “a necessary condition for human development, improved quality of life and enhanced productivity”. Citizens have a right to a safe environment that is not harmful to health or well-being (see Chapter 24 of the Constitution).

The Bill of Rights further recognises the right of every person to freedom and security of the person, and the right of every child to be protected from neglect, abuse, degradation and exploitation.

A review of the 1998 White Paper on Safety and Security in 2010 identified the need for two distinct policy interventions:

  1. a White Paper that focuses on the policing environment, and
  2. a White Paper on Safety and Security that focuses on an integrated and developmental approach to crime and violence prevention, recognising the fact that safety extends far beyond the purview of the police.

Reactive policing approaches to crime are only partially effective in the prevention of crime and violence. Research demonstrates that relying predominantly on criminal justice approaches risks prioritising increasingly repressive and punitive responses to crime that are limited in their ability to achieve longer term results.

The reactive nature of the criminal justice system needs to be complemented by long-term developmental strategies to reduce incidents of people in conflict with the law and to increase levels of safety in communities.

Focus on an integrated, participatory approach towards violence prevention

The White Paper focuses on the prevention of crime and violence as a necessary precondition for increasing people's feelings of safety and building safer communities as envisioned by the NDP.

The NDP articulates a vision for a safe and secure South Africa, and identifies building safer communities as central in achieving an integrated and developmental approach to safety and security, which involves all government departments and tiers of government.

This means that building safer communities is a collective responsibility of both the state and its citizens, and is located within the broader developmental agenda of government. In this regard, the White Paper affirms the need for an active citizenry, civil society, and private sector to contribute to the on-going efforts of government in safety, crime and violence prevention.

This approach advocated in the White Paper is premised on:

  • addressing the risk factors discussed above;
  • intervening in the individual, familial, community and structural domains in order to build resilience;
  • putting in place protective measures;
  • support for broader structural and environmental change to promote safer communities

The approach requires effective and integrated planning and implementation by government informed by a sound knowledge base and active community participation.

Six key themes of the White paper

The White Paper's focus on crime and violence prevention is informed by six key themes:

(1) Effective criminal justice system

  • Efficient, responsive and professional criminal justice sector.
  • Effective diversion, rehabilitation and reintegration programmes.
  • Effective restorative justice programmes and interventions.

(2) Early intervention to prevent crime and violence, and promote safety

  • A healthy start for infants and children, including the first 1000 days of life, pre-school and school children, and their parents, caregivers and guardians.
  • A safe and supportive home, school and community environment for children and youth.
  • Context-appropriate child and youth resilience programmes.
  • Substance abuse treatment and prevention.
  • Context-appropriate interventions for 'vulnerable'/ at risk groups.

(3) Victim support

  • Comprehensive framework promoting and upholding the rights of victims of crime and violence.
  • Delivery of high quality services for victims of crime and violence.

(4) Effective and integrated service delivery for safety, security and violence and crime prevention

  • Access to essential crime and violence prevention and safety and security services.
  • Professional and responsive service provision.

(5) Safety through environmental design

  • The integration of safety, crime and violence prevention principles into urban and rural planning and design that, promotes safety and facilitates feeling safe.

(6) Active public and community participation

  • Sustainable forums for co-ordinated and collaborative action on community safety.
  • Public and community participation in the development, planning and implementation of crime and violence prevention programmes and interventions.
  • Public and private partnerships to support safety, crime and violence prevention programmes and interventions.

Who implements and oversees the White Paper?

The oversight of the White Paper is located within the Presidency in order to ensure the appropriate level of political leadership, support and the authority to drive the White Paper.

The operationalisation and implementation of the White Paper depend on its implementation, monitoring and evaluation. To ensure that this occurs, the Civilian Secretariat for Police will coordinate the implementation of the White Paper, and facilitate engagements with civil society and government on community safety.

Directorate and National Centre for Safety, Crime and Violence Prevention

The Department for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) will establish a Directorate for Safety, Crime and Violence Prevention with the following functions:

  • Develop a holistic Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Framework;
  • Co-ordinate reporting of national, provincial and local government against the M&E Framework;
  • Ensure integration of safety, crime and violence prevention outcomes within government’s strategic framework:
  • Establish and capacitate a National Crime Prevention Centre; and
  • Facilitate the development of an integrated data and information management system and protocols for information sharing between different spheres of government.

The National Safety, Crime and Violence Prevention Centre will be replicated at provincial level. Its objectives are to:

  • Provide expertise and support in developing policies, strategies and plans.
  • Mobilise resources needed to sustain safety, security and crime and violence prevention activities.
  • Facilitate shared learning and development of partnerships.
  • Monitor implementation and conduct evaluations;
  • Collate and analyse data;
  • Provide a depository of knowledge and information.

Download the White Paper

To download the White Paper on Safety and Security as well as its annexures, please visit:

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