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Assessing and promoting civil and minority rights in South Africa.

[Source: ISS Today by Johan Burger & Stuart Mbanyele.]

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation address (SONA) on 13 February suggests that he is badly informed about the state of policing in South Africa. ‘Police visibility, effective training and better resourcing of police stations are our priorities,’ he said. This means that despite substantial evidence that police performance and conduct have deteriorated over the past decade, priorities remain unchanged.

Public trust in the South African Police Service (SAPS) has been dropping for some time. This is directly related to deteriorating performance of SAPS as a whole and high levels of police misconduct. Only large-scale interventions that measurably improve police professionalism will produce the types of improvements in public safety needed for economic growth and investment.

Many of the key indicators of police performance as presented in SAPS annual reports paint a dismal picture of deteriorating effectiveness. For example, despite the SAPS’s annual budget increasing by 44% from R63.3 billion in 2012/13 to R91.7bn in 2018/19, its detection rate over the same period for serious violent crimes such as murder and robbery dropped by 28% and 23.4% respectively.

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South Africa at a Glance
58 780 000 (mid 2019 estimate)
4.1% y/y in March 2020 (CPI) & +4.5 y/y in February 2020 (PPI)
-1.4% q/q (4th quarter of 2019)
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