PETTY CRIMES THAT MATTER: Evaluating the Western Cape community courts

  • Melanie Lue-Dugmore University of Cape Town
  • Vanja Karth University of Cape Town
  • Jean Redpath Hlakanaphila Analytics
Keywords: crime, petty crime, South Africa, Western Cape, courts


By focusing on petty crimes, community courts hope to encourage a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to criminality, develop integrated and constructive responses to local crime problems, and alleviate case loads in magistrates’ courts. Based on an evaluation of three community courts in the Western Cape, this article argues that overall, the courts are functioning satisfactorily. Challenges in the areas of planning, public awareness, police data collection, and the provision of diversion and alternative sentencing options must, however, be addressed.

Author Biographies

Melanie Lue-Dugmore, University of Cape Town
Law, Race & Gender Research Unit
Vanja Karth, University of Cape Town
Law, Race & Gender Research Unit
  • Abstract 149
  • PDF 192
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Research articles