Organised Crime in South Africa: A Growing Concern

South Africa has become a hub for organised crime, with the country ranking 19th out of 193 countries on the Global Organised Crime Index [3]. 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 [1].

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 [2]. Organised networks, both inside and outside the state, are exploiting opportunities for private gain, impacting economic activity in both public and private sectors [11].

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 [4]. South Africa also suffers from high rates of violent crime, including murder and gun violence [5]7].

Organised crime in South Africa has been linked to gangsterism, drugs, human trafficking, and arms smuggling within the country [10]. Corruption among border, customs, and police officials reportedly facilitates the distribution and transit of drugs through the country [6].

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 [12]14]. Experts warn that organised crime poses an existential threat to South Africa’s democratic institutions, economy, and people [13]. The country must address this issue before it becomes too late [15].

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