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Study shown organised crime is rising rapidly in SA

Neelam Rahimneelam@radioislam.co.za

4 min read – 16:45 CAT

A new study has shown that organised crime is rising rapidly in 10 of 14 criminal markets in South Africa. There is also a dramatic expansion and legitimisation of extortion. This is according to the Global Initiative against Transnational Organised Crime which is an existential threat to SA’s democratic institutions, economy, and people.

Speaking to Radio Islam International, the Organisation’s Jenni Irish-Qhobosheane said the study’s main aim was to focus on what is being faced in organised crime. And also to start a debate around what steps can be taken to surround the challenge.

The markets were broken down into four different categories. The first was selling illicit drugs, firearms, and human and wildlife trafficking. Secondly, dealing in violence including extortion, kidnapping for ransom, organised robberies and violence such as hit squads. The third category is preying on infrastructure. This includes organised corruption, illegal mining, copper theft and mass public transport. Lastly, moving on to the fourth category of preying on critical services such as white collar crime, cybercrime and crime such as the health sector crime. 

According to Jenni, the dramatic increase is attributed to several factors. It is seen from around the year 2011 that organised crime has become more embedded in the state.

He said organised crime, such as drug trafficking, becomes more extensive, the amount of money behind corrupt people in the state and private sector.

The issue of kidnapping and extortion has dominated headlines over the last decade. Jenni said there had been an increase in ransom kidnapping since 2016.

“It has been found that some local networks have been linked to foreign networks and cannot act without the local actors.”

Meanwhile, the study highlights incidents in Khayelitsha, Cape Town.

According to Jenni, once extortion markets take hold, they’re challenging to disrupt. An illicit market may also target the vulnerable, as in Khayelitsha’s case. Foreign businesses extend to extorting local communities and grow from there.

Regarding the areas needing focus regarding moving forward, Jenni said a whole society approach is necessary for dealing with crime.

“We have identified four critical areas which needs focus. We need to look at regulating communication, enforcement and development responses that work in a synchronised way.”

Listen below to the interview with Moulana Sulaimaan Ravat and Jenni Irish-Qhobosheane on Radio Islam’s podcast.

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