Resources

Resources on South African Criminal Justice System: Prisons
Author: Janelle
Published: Mar 11, 2020

Africa Criminal Justice Reform (ACJR) has produced research on the South African criminal justice system relating to prisons. This resource list contains summaries and links of work that we have produced in recent years on the topic of prisons.

Resources on South African Criminal Justice System: Police
Author: Janelle
Published: Mar 11, 2020

Africa Criminal Justice Reform (ACJR) has produced research on the South African criminal justice system relating to the police. This resource list contains summaries and links of work that we have produced in recent years on the topic of police.

Unconscionable and irrational: SAPS human resource allocation
Author: Jean
Published: Mar 05, 2020

The Khayelitsha Commission revealed that areas that are predominantly populated by people who are poor and black are systematically allocated only a small fraction of the average per capita allocation of police personnel in the Western Cape. These areas also suffer among the highest rates of murder and serious violent crime in the province. The allocation of human resources to policing impinges on various constitutional rights. Given the inequity and irrationality apparent in the allocation of police personnel, the Khayelitsha Commission recommended that this method be urgently revised. This article reviews the evidence heard on the allocations and the method currently used to allocate police personnel, suggests an alternative method, and calls on the government to heed the recommendation of the Khayelitsha Commission that the state urgently revise its method of allocation of policing resources.

Ten years after the Jali Commission: The state of South Africa's prisons
Author: Lukas
Published: Mar 05, 2020

Ten years have lapsed since the Jali Commission’s final report became publicly available, and it is therefore an opportune time to assess the state of South Africa’s prison system. The Jali Commission was appointed when it became clear that the state had lost control of the Department of Correctional Services (DCS). A decade on, some notable advances have been made in regaining control, and addressing corruption and maladministration. However, serious and persistent challenges remain. These are explored in this article, with a particular focus on policy development, the performance of the DCS against set targets, governance and human rights violations. In all four of these areas substantial shortcomings remain. Impunity for human rights violations is perhaps the most critical challenge, as the DCS has been reluctant to acknowledge the scale of this problem or to seriously address it.

Modest beginnings, high hopes: The Western Cape Police Ombudsman
Author: Lukas
Published: Mar 05, 2020

In 2013 the Western Cape legislature passed the Western Cape Community Safety Act (WCCSA) to improve monitoring of and oversight over the police. One creation of the WCCSA is the Western Cape Police Ombudsman, which became operational in 2015. This article reviews its history and context, as well as results from its first year. The Police Ombudsman, the only one in the country, must be seen as one of the results of efforts by the opposition-held province to carve out more powers in the narrowly defined constitutional space, and in so doing to exercise more effective oversight and monitoring of police performance, and improve police–community relations. The Ombudsman must also be seen against the backdrop of poor police–community relations in Cape Town and the subsequent establishment of a provincial commission of inquiry into the problem, a move that was opposed by the national government, contesting its constitutionality. Results from the Ombudsman’s first 18 months in operation are modest, but there are promising signs. Nonetheless, the office is small and it did not do itself any favours by not complying with its legally mandated reporting requirements.

Powers of arrest curtailed by Constitutional Council of Mozambique – the impact of the 2013 decision
Author: Jean
Published: Oct 04, 2019

This report assesses the consequences of the 2013-decision of the Constitutional Council of Mozambique, which limits to judges the authority to order pre-trial detention for cases falling outside of flagrante delito (where the accused is caught in the act of committing the offence). Although the decision represents a progressive change in the jurisprudence of Mozambique’s highest court, judges, prosecutors and police encounter operational challenges in implementing the decision, in a country with a population of more than 28 million people. In 2017, there were 344 judges, 18 of which were Judges of Criminal Instruction, responsible for issuing warrants of arrest for cases outside of flagrante delito. Concerns were raised in relation to lack of financial and logistical resources for prosecutors, which are mandated to monitor the legality of police detention. As the criminal justice system is under-resourced, police officials have to wait for a judge to issue a warrant of arrest for cases falling outside of flagrante delito. Despite the decision, unlawful arrests continue to happen although there is anecdotal evidence that these have decreased. The 2013-decision has clarified who has the power to authorise arrest in these cases, but the situation is far from being resolved.

ACJR Submission to the Zondo Commission on the National Prosecuting Authority
Author: Jean
Published: Jun 24, 2019

"The current legislation, structure, policies and operations of the NPA result in the outcome that few persons are convicted of serious crimes, and that state officials, in particular, are more likely to escape prosecution. That is, state officials experience impunity for rights violations and for offences related to state capture."