South Africa has become a hub for organised crime, with the country ranking 19th out of 193 countries on the Global Organised Crime Index . A report by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime (GI-TOC) released in September 2022 has raised concerns about the links between crime and politics in the nation .
The enfeeblement of the state due to corruption within the ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), is cited as the primary cause for the boom in organised crime . Organised networks, both inside and outside the state, are exploiting opportunities for private gain, impacting economic activity in both public and private sectors .
Various criminal markets are pervasive throughout South Africa, with fauna crimes being particularly prominent. Poaching and trafficking of rhino horns, lion bones, ivory, abalone, and pangolins are common occurrences . South Africa also suffers from high rates of violent crime, including murder and gun violence 7].
Organised crime in South Africa has been linked to gangsterism, drugs, human trafficking, and arms smuggling within the country . Corruption among border, customs, and police officials reportedly facilitates the distribution and transit of drugs through the country .
The GI-TOC report reveals that organised crime networks operate in at least 15 sectors in South Africa, with murder, extortion, and kidnapping rates surging as a result 14]. Experts warn that organised crime poses an existential threat to South Africa’s democratic institutions, economy, and people . The country must address this issue before it becomes too late .