• prison keys, imprisonment, decolonisation December 2018
    No 66 (2018)

    This special edition, guest edited by Nontsasa Nako from the University of Johannesburg, addresses the issue of decolonizing prisons by confronting both the day-to-day function of the prison and also wider impact of imprisonment on various communities in South Africa.

    Thato Masiangoako examines the frames of rationalisation employed by migrants and student and community activists, who were victims of police violence due to their perceived activist or migrant status. Her article helps us understand how enduring cultural, social and institutional histories shape popular perceptions and may account for ‘the enduring nature of prison’, despite their experiences of unfair detention.

    Palesa Madi and Lubabalo Mabhenxa show how the insistence on verification of address in bail hearings makes it difficult for the poor and marginalised to be released on bail in South Africa, where it is not uncommon for people to lack fixed homes. The authors conclude that with the remand detainee population so high in South African prisons, the human rights instruments should be utilised to bring South Africa in line with international human rights law.

    Untalimile Crystal Mokoena and Emma Charlene Lubaale argue that through bail, or verification of address as a condition for granting bail, remand conditions, as they stand, create unequal access to justice. These authors argue that bail affordability is a paramount consideration if we want to ensure that there is equality before the law and that the dignity of the indigent accused is protected.

    Anthony Kaziboni’s piece on the Lindela Reparation Centre uncovers the crude manipulation of social problems and abuses at the Centre. Drawing on Giorgio Agamben’s concept of ‘bare life’ described in Homo sacer: sovereign power and bare life, Kaziboni follows media reports on Lindela over a period of 18 years to identify what he terms ‘xenophobic biopower’, wherein immigrants detained at the centre are presented as negatives in South Africa. He argues that when the detained immigrants are constituted as exceptional, and when their rights are suspended due to ‘illegality’, all manner of violence against them is permissible.

    Judge Jody Kollapen suggests in ‘On the Record’, that decolonisation is a broad concept, and the high rate of crime places undue focus on crime and punishment rather than on the various factors that produce social malaise. The papers in this volume help in expanding our knowledge and might ultimately guide us towards the decolonisation of institutions such as prisons.

    This issue was made possible by funding from the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences Working Group Fund.

  • September 2018
    No 65 (2018)

    David Bruce analyses statements from the injured and arrested strikers from the Scene 2 massacre at Marikana, as well as the circumstances in which they were taken, to interrogate the assertion that strikers were shot by police while surrendering or injured. Bruce argues that, taken as a whole, the statements are a reliable source that suggest that some of the strikers at Scene 2 where indeed shot while surrendering.

    Robert Doya Nanima extends the conversation on the latest version of the proposed Traditional Courts Bill, analyzing the admission of evidence obtained through human rights violations. Nanima finds that the Bill does not properly provide a satisfactory mechanism to evaluate evidence in criminal cases before it is admitted, and therefore doesn’t safeguard against over-zealous prosecution by the State and ensure human rights protections for accused persons.

    Mahlongonolo Thobane and Johan Prinsloo discuss “bank associated robberies” – robberies (or attempted robberies) of cash that are committed against a bank client while en route to or from a bank or ATM. A relatively unknown phenomenon in public discourse on crime in South Africa, these robberies are of particular concern to the banking industry and criminal justice practitioners due to their violent, traumatic nature and dramatic increase that put the general public at risk. Thobane and Prinsloo argue that these crimes increase perceptions about the increasing levels, and violent nature of crime in South Africa which place a huge burden on the criminal justice system.

    Nicole van Zyl considers whether evidence of sexual grooming influences the decisions of South African courts when passing sentence on offenders who have been found guilty of sexual assault or rape of children. The article argues that evidence of grooming should play a more important role in sentencing decisions, providing context in terms of the nature and impact of the crime that the court is asked to consider.

    Elrena van der Spuy reviews Anneliese Burgess’s book, Heist! South Africa’s Cash-In-Transit  Epidemic Uncovered. She concludes that the book is ‘riveting and troubling reading’ that brings a ‘disciplined inquiry to a complex issue of organised criminality’that sheds light on the connections between the illicit and licit, and the interplay of structure and agency that enable this kind of criminality.

    On the Record presents a conversation between Nicolette Naylor (Director, Ford Foundation for Southern Africa) and Sibongile Ndashe (Executive Director: The Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa) on the role of the law in responding to sexual harassment in the workplace.


  • June 2018
    No 64 (2018)

    Each of the articles in the volume touch on questions of governance: by addressing how we use and assess evidence-based research aimed at improving policing practice; looking at the role and performance of the Western Cape Police Ombudsman; examining how and where protests focused on weak or absent governance take place; and unpacking the latest version of the Traditional Courts Bill, which is before Parliament (after two previous failed attempts) and which aims to regulate the customary justice environment.

    Gareth Newham and Brian Rappert’s article, Policing for impact: Is South Africa ready for evidence-based policing? reflects on the ways in which research aimed at improving operations has realised its potential to shape policing in practice. They document a shift towards ‘greater engagement and collaboration with partners external to the police on research and data’, and argues for dedicated research partnerships that could ‘better enrich SAPS exposure to new knowledge and interventions’.

     Lukas Muntingh reflects on the office of the Western Cape Police Ombudsman, and looks at its powers and performance since its inception. Muntingh finds that the body faces a number of challenges, including a ‘tiny’ budget, small staff, limited capacity to investigate, and low levels of confidence in its independence and effectiveness in addressing the poor policing and police-community relations that are evident in the province.

    Lizette Lancaster presents data from the Institute for Security Studies’ Protest and Public Violence Monitor (PPVM) in her article, Unpacking discontent: Where and why protest happens in South Africa. The data shows that, contrary to prevailing public narratives, protests in this period have most often been related to industrial strike action, rather than service delivery concerns, and only just over half (55%) have been classified as violent. Taken as a whole, the PPVM data shows how wide-ranging protest grievances are, and how geographically widespread they are.

    Fatima Osman’s article, Third time a charm? The Traditional Courts Bill 2017, looks at the latest version of the Bill and asks whether it sufficiently addresses the fundamental objections to previous versions, and the public outcry and sustained pressure from civil society organisations that ultimately scuppered its passage. Osman finds that these concerns – largely centred around the gender composition of the courts and women’s participation in dispute resolution processes, the centralisation of power in traditional leaders, and the professionalisation of courts – have been attended to in some measure in the new Bill, but that critical issues warrant further attention.

    Bill Dixon reviews two books for this issue of SACQ: Andrew Faull’s ethnography about the working lives and professional identities of the South African Police Service members entitled Police work and identity: a South African ethnography; and Sindiso Mnisi Weeks’s in-depth exploration of what she terms ‘vernacular dispute management forums’ in Msinga in rural KwaZulu-Natal, called Access to justice and human security: cultural contradictions in rural South Africa.

    ‘On the Record’ discusseS the in-the-field realities doing of doing a randomised household survey with Guy Lamb and Ncedo Mngqibisa from the Safety and Violence Initiative at the University of Cape Town.


  • March 2018
    No 63 (2018)

    The articles in the March 2018 edition of SACQ illustrate or address change, justice, representation and response in criminal justice in South Africa and beyond. The articles by Guy Lamb and Ntemi Nimilwa Kilekamajenga ask how systems and agencies learn from periods of crisis. Lamb focuses on massacres perpetrated by the police in South Africa, and asks what impact these have had on changing the police organization. Kilekamajenga addresses the crisis of overburden and overcrowding in the Tanzanian criminal justice and prison systems, and asks whether this provides a moment to consider whether restorative interventions offer promise in resolving the problem.

    Peter Alexander, Carin Runciman, Trevor Ngwane, Boikanyo Moloto, Kgothatso Mokgele and Nicole van Staden draw our attention to the frequency and turmoil of community protests between 2005 and 2017, and challenge us to reconsider the ways in which protest is framed as violent, disruptive and disorderly, and how we measure and represent it in the media and elsewhere.

    Jameelah Omar provides a case note on the Social Justice Coalition’s constitutional challenge of provisions of the Regulation of Gatherings Act, which criminalizes the failure to provide notice of a gathering of 15 or more protesters. This case note discusses this significant judgment that declared these provisions of section 12(1)(a) of the Act unconstitutional.

    Two scholar/activists,  Nick Simpson and Vivienne Mentor-Lalu, discuss the Water Crisis and its impact on questions of vulnerability, risk and security in “On the Record”, illustrating our society’s challenges increasingly touch questions about safety and security, and of how the nature of our responses (both in terms of who is able to respond effectively, and what that response looks like) visibilise questions about who benefits and who is left behind.

  • December 2017
    No 62 (2017)

    This issue of South African Crime Quarterly is a special issue focusing on protest. It is guest edited by Kelley Moult of the Centre for Law and Society at the University of Cape Town.

    Articles in this edition illustrate the ways that academics, activists, lawyers and practitioners are engaging with questions of protest and response. Two articles address the law on protest. Chamberlain and Snyman survey the protest landscape through the lens of the public interest legal sector, and question, through the experience of Right2Protest, the ways in which court processes are being used as tools with which to quash protest activities. Omar uses the Social Justice Coalition’s challenge to the Regulation of Gatherings Act (RGA) to highlight the controversies around the Act’s regulatory provisions.

    Two articles focus on protest related to the right to basic education. Ally argues that the current legal framework on protest fails to protect and enable children’s right to protest, and uses the case of Mlungwana and Others v State and Others to show how the criminalisation of peaceful protest not only violates the state’s responsibility but also fails to take into account the best interests of children. Focusing on the South African Schools Act, Skelton and Nsibirwa show tensions between the right to protest and to basic education. Problematizing the implementation if provisions that create criminal accountability in the context of protest (including parents’ decisions to keep children out of school), they argue that holding protesters accountable under criminal law may be desirable, but that the proposed amendments to the Schools Act do not resolve these practical tensions.

    Mukumba and Abdullah use a series of Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) requests to municipalities to test how easily accessible information is on where and how to submit a notice of gathering, as required by the RGA. They show that information is scarce, and compliance uneven across the country, finding that this amounts to active resistance by government to enabling the right to protest.

    Two research articles look at public opinion on protest. Roberts et al., examine views of police performance in dealing with protests, finding that this is negative on the whole, and that roughly a third of South Africans feel that the police are never justified in using force in these situations. Bohler-Muller et al., focus on patterns of support for different forms of protest action across various socio-demographic and geographic variables. Surprisingly, the authors find no considerable differences across age, gender, race and class in the public’s support for protest, although people are more likely to support protest if they think it will be successful.

    The case note by Abdool Karim and Kruyer analyses Rhodes University v Student Representative Council of Rhodes University, and Bond reviews Jane Duncan’s The rise of the securocrats and Protest nation.


  • September
    No 61 (2017)
  • June 2017
    No 60 (2017)
    Special issue on organised environmental crime funded by the Global Initiative.
  • March 2017
    No 59 (2017)
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    No 58 (2016)
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    No 57 (2016)
  • June 2016 edition
    No 56 (2016)
  • Special edition: Is social cohesion the missing link in overcoming violence, inequality and poverty?
    No 55 (2016)

    The March 2016 edition of South African Crime Quarterly is a special edition dedicated to exploring the role of social cohesion and collective efficacy in addressing violence in cities in the global south.

    Social cohesion is a broad concept but generally refers to the factors that ‘hold a society together’. Collective efficacy looks at how these ties can prevent violence when they are translated into collective action at the neighbourhood level.

    Rapid urbanisation in the developing world is thought to exacerbate and concentrate the linkages between poverty, inequality and violence in rapidly expanding cities. It has been hypothesised that weak social cohesion increases the risk that violence will occur, while strong social cohesion can act as a protective factor preventing violence. Thus far, however, there has been little empirical research on social cohesion and its relationship to violence in the global south.

    This edition will include articles that present research findings on these issues. It locates itself within a growing body of intellectual and policy engagement on safety in rapidly growing cities in the global south. The deadline for abstracts has passed. The deadline for articles to be considered for publication is 15 November 2015.

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