A New Decade of Criminal Justice in South Africa - Consolidating Transformation
(Criminal Justice Conference 2005)


A New Decade of Criminal Justice in South Africa - Consolidating Transformation
Villa Via Hotel, Gordon's Bay, Western Cape, February 7-8, 2005 Supported by the Embassy of Belgium and the Ford Foundation

Final List of Speakers and Selected Conference Presentations Opening Address

Mr Justice MS Navsa – Judge of Appeal, Supreme Court of Appeal - Opening Address Plenary 1 — Criminal Justice Reform, Transition and Crime

Minister Leonard Ramatlakane, The Minister for Community Safety, Western Cape - Criminal Justice Reform, Transition and Crime

Graeme Simpson, Executive Director, Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation Plenary II — Contemporary Issues in South African Prisons

Judge Hannes Fagan, Inspecting Judge of Prisons - Our Bursting Prisons

Abbey Witbooi, General-Secretary, POPCRU - Management and Control of Prisons

Chris Giffard, independent researcher – respondent - Contemporary Issues in South African Prisons Plenary III — Policy and Implementation

Simon Jiyane, Deputy Director-General, Court Services, Department of Justice - Policy and Implementation

Adv Anne Skelton, Chief Litigator, Centre for Child Law, University of Pretoria – Implementation Planning – The Child Justice Bill

Bill Dixon, Department of Criminology, Keele University, UK - Copies of Bill Dixon's paper Development, Crime Prevention and the Criminalisation of Social Policy in South Africa are available on request from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Plenary IV — Improving the Way the System Works: The next 10 years (Closing plenary)

Dr Tertius Geldenhuys, Head of Legislation, Legal Services, SAPS

Judge Dennis Davis, Cape High Court – The Criminal Justice System: How Much Transformation Has Taken Place During the First Decade of Constitutional Democracy'

Subashni Moodley, Deputy Commissioner, Personal Corrections, DCS Conference closure

Elrena van der Spuy, Senior Lecturer and Director, Institute of Criminology, UCT Workshop 1 — Violent Crime in South Africa: What We Know; What We Don't Know

Anton du Plessis, Head, Crime & Justice Programme – Violent Crime Levels in South Africa – an overview of available data

Martin Schönteich, Senior Legal Officer, National Criminal Justice, Open Society Justice Initiative, New York – Murder in South Africa: What We Know and Don't Know

Irvin Kinnes, Director, Kinnes and Associates

Elaine Salo, Lecturer, African Gender Institute, UCT - Mans is Ma Soe: Ganging practices in Manenberg, South Africa and the ideologies of masculinity, gender and generational relations

Lisa Vetten, Gender Programme Manager, CSVR Workshop 2 — From Suspect to Sentence: Human Rights, Diversity and the Criminal Justice Process

Megan Prinsloo, Junior Scientist, MRC – A Review of Factors Impacting on the Criminal Investigation Process in Cape Town

Dr Nick Olivier, UNISA - Best Practices in Interviewing within a Culturally Diverse Society: Lessons for Law Enforcement

Abraham Hamman, Lecturer, Faculty of Law, UWC - Cellphone Technology, Human Rights and the Criminal Justice Process

Prof Divya Singh, Director: School of Criminal Justice, UNISA- Research in Search of an Answer: Understanding One of the Dynamics that Keeps Battered Women in Abusive Relationships – Cultural Diversity Under the Hammer Workshop 3 — Paradigms 1: Paradigms for Policing

Clifford Shearing, Professor in the Research School of Social Science at the Australian National University - Paradigms for Policing

John Cartwright and Madeleine Jenneker, Community Peace Programme, School of Government, UWC - Governing Security: A working model in South Africa - The Peace Committee

Boyane Tshehla Senior Researcher, Crime & Justice Programme, ISS - Paradigms for Policing

Antony Altbeker, Senior Researcher, Crime & Justice Programme, ISS - Policing Paradigms . Workshop 4 — International Cooperation and Criminal Justice

Kenny Kapinga, The Head of Bureau, Interpol-Sub Regional Bureau, Harare – Paper on International Cooperation and Criminal Justice

Adv Anton Katz, Member of the Cape Town and New York Bars - The Transformation of South Africa's Role in International Co-operation in Criminal Matters

Associate Professor Max du Plessis, Howard College School of Law, University of KZN, Durban - Africa and the International Criminal Court Workshop 5 — Criminology and Criminal Justice Research

Prof Anna van der Hoven and Dr Michelle Ovens, Department of Criminology, UNISA – The Role of the Criminologist in the Criminal Justice System

Shanaaz Mathews, Researcher, Gender & Health Group, MRC – Challenges & Barriers to Data Collection from Investigating Officers: Experience from a National Study on Female Homicides in South Africa

Susan Lieberman, Urban Development Researcher, Building & Construction Technology, CSIR – Community Crime Mapping: local solutions to local problems

Iole Matthews, Independent Projects Trust and Mathew Smith, Strategy and Tactics – A Balanced Approach to Evaluating a Criminal Justice Strengthening Project Workshop 6 — Access to Legal Assistance for Suspects and Victims

Patrick Hundermark, Regional Operations Executive: Eastern Cape and Free State, Legal Aid Board

Karam Jeet Singh, Project Coordinator: Education and Training Project, Lawyers for Human Rights, Cape Town - Access to Justice: Developing a Pro Bono Practice for South Africa

Associate Professor Peter Jordi – School of Law, Wits - Compensation for Victims of Crime in a Civil Context

Prof Danny Titus, Deputy Executive Dean, College for Law, UNISA Workshop 7 — The Social Fabric & Social Crime Prevention

Dumisani Ntombela, SA Congress for Early Childhood Development

Associate Professor Andy Dawes – Director: Child Youth & Family Development, HSRC - Child Development, Anti-Social Behaviour and Effective Intervention

Assistant Commissioner Susan Pienaar, Head: Social Crime Prevention, SAPS Division Crime Prevention - Social Fabric & Social Crime Prevention Workshop

Bill Dixon, Department of Criminology, Keele University, UK. See plenary 3 Workshop 8 — Paradigms 2: Traditional Justice and Restorative Justice

Mike Batley, Executive Director, Restorative Justice Centre - Paradigms of Justice: Why Restorative Justice Should Be Part of the Next Decade of Criminal Justice in South Africa

Boyane Tshehla, Senior Researcher, Crime & Justice Programme, ISS

Associate Professor Wilfried Schärf, Institute of Criminology, UCT - The Challenges Facing Non-State Justice Systems in Southern Africa: How do, and How Should Governments Respond? Workshop 9 – The Courts, Sentencing, and an Integrated Justice System

Adv Pieter du Rand, Chief Director, Court Services, Department of Justice - Paper on the Courts, Sentencing and an Integrated Justice System

Judge Hannes Fagan, Inspecting Judge of Prisons. See plenary 2

Prof Stephan Terblanche, Department of Criminal and Procedural Law, University of South Africa – Sentencing: Changes and Effect Since 1994 Workshop 10 — Police Oversight, Accountability and Discipline

Adv Karen McKenzie, Executive Director, Independent Complaints Directorate - Police Accountability and Discipline

Gareth Newham, Project Manager, Criminal Justice Programme, CSVR – Internal Police Systems for Officer Control: A Strategic Focus Area for Improving Civilian Oversight and Police Accountability in South Africa

Duxita Mistry, Senior Researcher, Crime & Justice Programme, ISS – Civilian Oversight and Police Accountability

Sean Tait, Criminal Justice Initiative, Open Society Foundation – South Africa - Strengthening Police Oversight in South Africa: Opportunities for State Civil Society Partnerships

Dr Tertius Geldenhuys, Head of Legislation, Legal Services, SAPS Workshop 11 — Development and Rehabilitation of Offenders

Dr Leon Holtzhausen, Deputy Director: Correctional Programmes, & Ann-Mari Hesselink Louw, Deputy Director: Offender Profiling, Directorate Risk Profile Management, Personal Corrections, Department of Correctional Services – Offender Assessment, Profiling, Sentence Planning & Intervention

Khanyisile Mpuang, National Programme Specialist: Offender Reintegration – the Case for Effective Offender Reintegration and Summary

Venessa Padayachee, National Programme Specialist: Community Victim Support, NICRO – Offender Reintegration and Rehabilitation – NICRO's Programme for Perpetrators of Intimate Partner Violence Powerpoint and Text versions

Sandy Hoffman, psychologist – Rehabilitation of Prisoners in a Transforming South Africa

Margaret Roper, independent researcher & evaluator – Emerging South African Approaches to Strengthen the Effectiveness of Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Juvenile Offenders Workshop 12 — Working Effectively with Children in the Criminal Justice System

Milly Pekeur, Coordinator of the Child Witness Project, RAPCAN – Rapcan's Child Witness Project - Resources Aimed at the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect

Gert Jonker, National Team Leader, Bethany House Trust - Intermediary Services For Child Witnesses Testifying In Criminal Court Proceedings . This document is an outline of the presentation. Copies of the presentation are available on request from David Bruce at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Note that the file is 44 megabytes in size.

Adv Maggie Tserere, Senior State Advocate, Sexual Offences and Community Affairs Unit, National Prosecuting Authority - Working Effectively with Children in the CJS

Arina Smit, National Programme Specialist: Diversion and Youth Development, NICRO - Turning the Child Justice Bill into Reality Workshop 13 — Technology and CJS Transformation

Assistant Commissioner Piet du Toit, SAPS Criminal Record Centre - The Automatic Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) and its impact on the CJS

Laurens Cloete, CSIR Information Society Technology Centre - Information and Communication Technology and the Criminal Justice System in 10 years time.

Dr Graham Wright, CSIR Crime Prevention Centre/Business Against Crime - The role of partnerships in leveraging technology in addressing organised crime Workshop 14 — Challenges Facing the National Prosecuting Authority

Martin Schönteich, Senior Legal Officer, National Criminal Justice, Open Society Justice Initiative, New York – Challenges Facing the NPA

Iole Matthews, Independent Projects Trust and Mathew Smith, Strategy and Tactics - The National Prosecuting Authority A KZN Perspective - Challenges and Possible Solutions Workshop 15 — The Domestic Violence Act: Strengthening Implementation

Lisa Vetten, Programme Manager, Gender Programme, CSVR

Assistant Commissioner Susan Pienaar, Head: Social Crime Prevention, Division Crime Prevention, SAPS - Police Implementation of the DVA

Joyce Maluleke, Gender Directorate: Dept of Justice and Constitutional Development – Strengthening the Implementation of the Domestic Violence Act

Adv Tsidi Kambula, Senior State Advocate, Head of Domestic Violence Section, Sexual Offences and Community Affairs Unit, National Prosecuting Authority

Heléne Combrinck, Coordinator, Gender Project, Community Law Centre, UWC - Setting Standards: Domestic Violence, State Duties and Constitutional Jurisprudence

Antony Altbeker, Senior Researcher, Crime & Justice Programme, ISS - Policing Domestic Violence: the sympathy gap.

Facilitators: Lillian Artz & Dee Smyth, Gender, Health & Justice Research Unit University of Cape Town

Thursday, 21 October 2010
African Civil Society Stakeholders Call for Global and Inclusive Justice
(Media Articles)

African Civil Society Stakeholders Call for Global and Inclusive Justice

For the full article click here

Link to Pan African  Lawyers Union here

Wednesday, 17 July 2013
'Disappointed’ at no magic wand to wave away crime (15.11.10)
(Media Articles)

MEMBERS of Parliament’s police committee, the new Deputy Minister of Police Maggie Sotyu and police secretariat officials pronounced themselves disappointed this week when the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation’s report on why crime in South Africa is so violent was released.

They clearly all wanted a magic wand from the academics – David Bruce and Adele Kirsten – who compiled the study, and there wasn’t one. Indeed, after a particularly robust engagement, Bruce told the committee that worldwide there had been many studies done on violent crime and no one had yet come up with an answer.

Committee chairman Sindi Chikunga and Freedom Front Plus MP Pieter Groenewald wanted to know why crime in South Africa was so often accompanied by hideous cruelty. They said the study had failed to find an explanation as to why victims of crime are so often tortured.Indeed, this is a good question. The study reported that the history of structural violence inherent in the way in which colonialism and apartheid worked lay at the heart of the matter.

I suppose the idea is that if you are the victim of institutional violence simply because of your race then it legitimises violence on a personal level.Also, people would have observed brutal state action from police and other departments where there were no consequences. In short, impunity.Also connected to violent crime in the study were things like poverty, education, the destruction of family structures through the migrant labour system and, curiously, the abuse of alcohol by young mothers – often accompanied by domestic violence. Still further reinforcement.

While accepting the bona fides of the research done, it would be nice if the further research which the CSVR said was ongoing could provide answers to some of the questions. For example, there are places in the world where there is far more poverty than in South Africa but where there is less violent crime.It would also be interesting to find out what role is played by the fact that South Africa negotiated its revolution rather than fighting to the end. Is there a sort of feeling that violence is justified because there were no real winners and losers in the revolution?

There were some startling findings which should sound some alarm bells, one being that more than a third of the perpetrators of violent crime are 19 years and younger. That is truly scary and it points to problems with education and socialisation.

Having said all that, the criticism of the report does seem to be unfair. It is an astonishing piece of work and really does serve the vital function of bringing together what we know about violent crime in the country and putting it in an accessible form in one place.

There have also been complaints that R3.5- million of public money was spent and not much achieved. Also unfair. Anything that contributes to a better understanding of where we are and why we behave as we do is worth every cent.

In The Herald

Monday, 15 November 2010
Criminal justice system 'racist' (11.11.10)
(Media Articles)
Cape Town - The new deputy police minister has described South Africa’s criminal justice system as racist, saying it needs to be transformed as black criminals are given harsher sentences than their white counterparts.Maggie Sotyu, the new deputy minister of police, made this statement in Parliament on Tuesday after a report on extensive research regarding the scope and nature of violent crime was published by the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR).Sotyu referred to a “white person or boer who drags a black farm worker behind his bakkie and gets off with a R10 000 fine”. “But a black man who murders a white farmer gets life in prison. That’s racist politics.”According to her, the criminal justice system needs transformation “because people in the same country aren’t treated equally”.“It’s about time our courts realise this is the new South Africa.” No new findings in reportSotyu was speaking to the media after the parliamentary portfolio committee for police and the secretariat of police pulled the CSVR’s research to pieces. The finding which came under most fire is that South Africa is caught up in a subculture of violence. Based on the annual murder rate, South Africa is one of the five most violent countries in the world. The secretariat argued that South Africa’s violent crime “is not extraordinary” and that various other countries have similar or even higher levels.MPs and committee secretary Jennifer Irish-Qhobosheane labelled the CSVR’s research - for which government paid R3.5m - as inadequate, disappointing and incomplete.In their opinion, the research provided no new insights or reasons for the extremely violent nature of crime in South Africa. According to Irish-Qhobosheane, the department has serious concerns about the research, undertaken in 2007 on the instructions of Charles Nqakula, then minister of safety and security. “It’s useful, but it doesn’t provide anything new. The recommendations aren’t even creative.”Sindi Chikunga, ANC MP and committee chairperson, referred to the Democratic Republic of Congo which, after years of warfare, is so safe that people can exchange currency on the streets. “There are heaps of weapons in the DRC, and Kinshasa is dirt poor, yet their crime isn’t nearly as violent (as ours). What’s so unique about the situation in South Africa? “I can’t find the answer in your report,” she said to Adèle Kirsten, director of the CSVR.BrutalityPieter Groenewald from the Freedom Front Plus pointed out gruesome farm attacks “where elderly people are tortured with steam irons and attackers flee without even taking anything”.“Why the brutality? These questions have not been answered.”According to Kirsten, extreme violence is the result of various complicated reasons. “You won’t find a single (simple) answer anywhere - not from us and not from international researchers.” David Bruce, also from the CSVR, is of the opinion that alternative research, such as psychological profiling, is needed to determine what motivates criminals to commit such brutal and violent acts. The situation in South Africa is unique because of the migrant labour system, forced on the Witwatersrand by the apartheid government, which destroyed thousands of families. Furthermore, the gap between rich and poor is wider here than in any other country in the world.- Beeld via
Thursday, 11 November 2010
'Gender machinery' in disarray (25.11.09)
(Media Articles)

Johannesburg - South Africa's "gender machinery" is in "disarray" with it not even being clear who is co-ordinating the 16 Days of Activism campaign, a group of NGOs said on Wednesday.

"At a time when it is most needed, participants noted, the national gender machinery is in disarray," read a statement from Gender Links and the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR).

"There is a lack of clarity on which agency is driving the 16 Days of Activism campaign, which used to be housed in the department of local government, following the establishment of the ministry of women, children and disability in April this year.

"The ministry has yet to hold a consultation with civil society organisations. There has also been a deafening silence on the status of the 365 National Action Plan to End Gender Violence adopted in March 2007 and co-ordinated by the National Prosecution Authority (NPA)."

They said there is also still no specific "domestic violence" category which would enable monitoring of the crime. They called on the government to resuscitate the 365 Day National Action Plan to End Gender Violence.

'We can prevent violence'

Their statement followed a three-day symposium convened by the CSVR under the banner "We can Prevent Violence". They also called for the establishment of a special fund to end gender violence, in line with regional and international commitments.

In addition they called on Fifa to use the World Cup 2010 to send out strong messages in support of the campaign to end gender violence as well as HIV/Aids.

They said the 12% increase in reported rape cases to 71 500 from April 1, 2008 to March 31, 2009 may in part be due to the expanded definition of rape under the new act. The figures are unacceptably high and likely to be understated due to under reporting.

Government was also still "well behind" in reaching the target of 81 one-stop centres for addressing gender violence by 2010 provided for in the National Sexual Assault Policy.

The 16-Days campaign takes place every year from November 25, the International Day of No Violence Against Women.

It runs until December 10, which is International Human Rights Day.


In News24.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009
'Constitution threatened by populism' (14.11.08)
(Media Articles)

Christelle Terreblanche

Is he an astute politician who speaks to ordinary people's concerns, or a dangerous populist who may be undermining the Constitution? Jacob Zuma's controversial remarks on the pre-election campaign trail that has taken him around the country have left in their wake a number of questions - and while his comments may have hit the right spot with his audiences, constitutional experts and gender rights activists are not amused. The ANC president told a rally in the Western Cape last weekend that truant learners and pregnant teenagers "should be caught and sent to faraway boarding schools by force until they get degrees".

He accused teenaged mothers of abusing the government's child grant and talked about "a war on street kids". He also repeated previous remarks, including one that crime suspects enjoy too many privileges. But since he sensationally pronounced last year that he was willing to reconsider the death penalty, there has been little indication of how he wants to get this past the country's progressive human rights Constitution. The man is certainly playing to his audiences across South Africa's deep social divides. His allegorical, vernacular rally style contrasts sharply with his measured and reasonable utterances last week at the Cape Town Press Club, where his audience was a world apart from the mostly poverty-stricken people who turn up at rallies. Constitutional and human rights experts believe Zuma's campaign approach to be "dangerous" and "populist", one that's testing the limits of the country's Constitution. Some are incensed by Zuma's suggestion that teenaged mothers should be separated from their babies. "There is a complete lack of acknowledgement of the responsibility of the father in any of this. Teenage girls are a nice, easy cheap target and it plays to a conservative populism to bash teenage girls," is the verdict of Lisa Vetten, senior researcher at the Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre to End Violence Against Women. "Frankly, for the ANC Youth League to have not said anything about this either, just goes to show how much they care about the difficulties that face adolescent girls. Why girls fall pregnant is a lot more complicated than we think." Two legal commentators say they believe aspects of Zuma's statements may be in conflict with the country's Constitution. University of the Western Cape constitutional expert, Professor Pierre de Vos, says if Zuma indeed meant that women should be forcibly sent away for education, he was making them into "criminals" when they were not accused before the law - "even more grave if it is directed at pregnant women". "It is obviously preposterous, because you once again make women the scapegoats and the men (who made them pregnant) get away scot-free. It is the old patriarchal approach," said De Vos. While acknowledging that the scope of teenage pregnancies was a shame to society, Unisa's Professor Shadrack Gutto said the ANC president's solution was not necessarily "child friendly", did not address the root causes of the problem and "from a constitutional legal perspective (was) very problematic". "As a safeguard you should build in the question of development of children," suggests Gutto. "In legal terms, the interests of the child (babies) come first, and critical to that is the interests of the child, for instance, in breastfeeding. "We know breastfeeding is universally acknowledged to be better for the child than other forms of feeding (although) other forms are not necessarily bad for the child." He said in this context, the statement "could violate the constitutional principle of protecting the rights of children" even before considering the interests of the mother. From the child's point of view "the statements are unfortunate and in many ways opposite to the principles of law". "We need proper reflection really on this issue - which is a populist statement not properly thought through," he suggested. But ANC national spokesperson Carl Niehaus believes Zuma has been misunderstood. The comments - often mistranslated - are derived from listening to communities where the problem of teenage pregnancies "means that mothers and grannies then have to look after the children of their children" and teenage mothers are stigmatised. Niehaus said Zuma was merely raising real concerns in communities that beg for a response from the government. He said that when teenagers leave a community to give birth, they are seldom welcomed back "because there is a kind of social sanction". "It is first of all not an attitude to let men walk off scot-free. It is important that young men are also kept responsible. The suggestion is not at all to withdraw the children by force, but where possible for them to be taken into a new community where they will be able to grow with the children," he explained. On the ANC president's statements that the rights of criminals should be curtailed, experts argue that this will not solve the underlying problem of weak judicial and police systems that result in offenders walking free. But what it does do is infringe on people's constitutional rights. The constitutional legal basic rights of all persons have limitations, stresses Gutto. "But then to be saying criminals should not have rights, really the ANC president is speaking in a language (that) I think is contrary to our Constitution and the principles of the right to freedom of movement and the rights of expression and freedom of association, which will be severely limited." Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation's senior researcher David Bruce says that while there's evidence that a control-orientated approach to criminal justice is likely to convict more criminals, it also comes at the cost of convicting higher numbers of people who are innocent. Bruce warns that a human rights approach, however, depends on a criminal justice system which is staffed by people who are highly skilled and knowledgeable. South Africa has been struggling to get this right, but all efforts must be exhausted before we start intruding on human rights, he stressed. "Incarceration is a process which brutalises people. We are living in a country that is already severely brutalised. So we need to be very wary of it," he said. De Vos says it's a "typical politician's quick-fix" answer to complex problems in our deeply unequal society. But Niehaus stressed that Zuma had been trying to respond to communities' serious battles against crime and to encourage discussion about whether this could be dealt with "in a tougher way without transgressing the Constitution". Gutto also acknowledges the flip-side - that South Africa offers little for victims of crime. "If you put all those together, you can see where the sentiment is coming from - but the ANC president should not be speaking so loosely." Niehaus denied Zuma was being populist. "It is more about being sensitive to the issues being raised in townships and rural communities where things are really difficult. "These are really issues that I think he is quite right to raise," he stressed.

This article was originally published on page 17 of Cape Argus on November 14, 2008
Friday, 14 November 2008
'No need for court action on shelters' (04.08.08)
(Media Articles)

There was no need for court action to force the Gauteng provincial government to keep open temporary safe sites for refugees and asylum seekers until they were reintegrated into communities, spokesperson Thabo Masebe said on Monday. He was reacting to the announcement that the Wits Law Clinic and Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA) were bringing an urgent application in the Pretoria High Court. They want the government ordered to communicate and implement a reintegration strategy which protects the rights of all, and to restore and not dismantle the Rifle Range temporary safe site until the reintegration strategy is in place.

"I don't know really what these people are looking for," said Masebe. There was no need for them to take court action, he said. "All they had to do was come to us." More than 62 people died, hundreds were injured and tens of thousands displaced in a wave of xenophobic attacks which started in Alexandra, Johannesburg on May 12 and spread to the rest of the country. The displaced have been housed in temporary shelters set up throughout the province since then. "All the shelters are still open, including the Rifle Range shelter," said Masebe. However, he explained that when people left any of the shelters any excess tents were folded up. Of about 1 700 refugees and asylum seekers at the Rifle Range camp at the height of the crisis, only 250 remained, he said. The rest had left after refusing to accept temporary identity cards from the Department of Home Affairs or finding alternative accommodation in their communities. Elsewhere in the province, there were still about 3 000 occupants of the safe shelters. "It's going down because people are leaving every day," he said, adding that 10 families left the Rand Airport camp on Friday alone. The government's key role had been to create conditions in all communities - starting with those where there was violence - for people to return to their homes, Masebe said. "They should be safe to do so. They should not fear that somebody will attack them again," he said. This had involved talking to the communities, which the provincial government had started in May. "It's not something that starts and stops. It starts and continues," he said. "I don't know what plan they are looking for." Civil society organisations have come out in support of the court action. While the need for legal action was regrettable, it was needed in the absence of the government's formal communication on a reintegration strategy, said the Reintegration Working Group. The group includes representatives of, among others: the Anglican Diocese of Johannesburg; the Somali Community Board; the Refugee Ministries Centre; the Coalition Against Xenophobia; His People Church; the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation; Mthwakazi Arts and Culture; and the Salvation Army. Masebe said the various groups could assist the government as political organisations and community organisations had done from the start. "That process goes on." In addition, the provincial government was talking to displaced people still at the shelters and who could not reintegrate on their own to find out what kind of help they needed. This included assistance with the building of shacks destroyed in the violence - in Ekurhuleni, communities were already helping in rebuilding efforts - or finding alternative accommodation. "There is no way as government, there is no way we are going to keep the shelters on a permanent basis.". The government did not want to create as permanent, separate settlements for foreign nationals, he said, adding that the government would oppose the court action. "It is not properly informed." - Sapa

In the Independent Online

Monday, 04 August 2008
'Crime will rise if Scorpions get canned'
(Media Articles)
Boyd Webb

Police corruption is likely to skyrocket if the Scorpions are closed down, the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) stated in a submission to parliament. "The SAPS is already riddled with corruption and is very bad at addressing the issue," CSVR senior researcher David Bruce argued. He said that corruption within the service could only be properly addressed if investigating units, with the "investigative sophistication" of the Scorpions, were allowed to remain independent of the police. The CSVR submission is but one of many which the chairperson of the National Assembly's Safety and Security Committee, Maggie Sotyu, expects to be waiting for her when she return to parliament next Tuesday.

The public has until Monday to make submissions concerning their views on whether the Directorate of Special Operations (Scorpions) should be closed and merged into the SAPS as called for by ANC resolutions passed at its December conference. The CSVR said that while it recognised that there were problems with the way the Scorpions were managed - as highlighted in the Khampepe Commission's report - these should be addressed without dissolving the unit. Closing the unit would do nothing to reduce the risk of the state abusing its power in the future by using similar units for its own political gain, the CSVR argued. "Creating a single agency with a monopoly of investigative powers is more likely to accentuate the problem," the CSVR said. Groups within the ANC along with the ANC's alliance partners have accused President Thabo Mbeki of using the Scorpions to carry out his political agenda against ANC leader Jacob Zuma. Meanwhile the Centre For Constitutional Rights (CFCR) on Wednesday described cabinet's decision to close the Scorpions as "irrational and arbitrary". It added it had a duty to draw attention to "conduct inconsistent with the constitution".

This article was originally published on page 3 of Pretoria News on July 24, 2008
Thursday, 24 July 2008
'Anti-Scorpions Bill not in public interest'
(Media Articles)
MPs should vote against the current measure before Parliament intended to dissolve the Scorpions, the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation said on Wednesday. "... the bills are not in the public interest and should be opposed by members of parliament," the organisation said in its submission to Parliament on the measure. Bringing the Scorpions under the command of the SAPS would expose the investigative unit to political manipulation, corruption and under-performance. "We believe that the envisaged dissolution of the Scorpions will... compound alleged existing weaknesses of the criminal justice system," the centre said. -Sapa In The Star, 23 July 2008
Wednesday, 23 July 2008
'SA cops still use torture'
(Media Articles)

Brian Indrelunas The government should meet its "international obligation" to criminalise torture, says SA Human Rights commissioner Leon Wessels. He called explicitly outlawing torture "an international obligation" after speaking to representatives of non-profit groups and government departments at a seminar. "We can't just subscribe to the international rhetoric (without) ensuring that torture becomes a statutory crime," he commented. The Constitution lists the right not to be tortured and police policies refer to torture specifically, but "all other policy is devoid of the language", said Lukas Muntingh of the Civil Society Prison Reform Initiative. CSPRI and the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) hosted on Tuesday's seminar, which explored civil society's role in preventing torture.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Published on

Wednesday, 02 April 2008
Tunisia: The Colonial Legacy and Transitional Justice

Tunisia: The Colonial Legacy and Transitional Justice

Chomiak.L (2017). Tunisia: The Colonial Legacy and Transitional Justice. 

Tuesday, 24 October 2017
How others have done it: A desk study of community projects related to torture, Appendix C

Bantjes, Megan. 2011. How others have done it: A desk study of community projects related to torture, Appendix C. Johannesburg: Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation.With the aim of informing CSVR's development of a community work model to address torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, this desk study examines six community projects conducted in South Africa and in other countries. Details of four of the interventions were found in the literature and information about two projects was gathered in interviews with the staff involved. Each intervention is discussed in terms of six questions that have been found useful for thinking about community work (see Questions about community work, Appendix B). The objectives of CSVR’s community work on torture - transformation, prevention and amelioration - provide the framework for considering the implications of each of these projects for CSVR's development of a model.

Monday, 16 December 2013
Developing a use of force policy for the South African Police Service : Workshop Report

Workshop report 2011. Developing a use of force policy for the South African Police Service.  Emoyeni Conference Centre, Johannesburg, 21 - 22 July 2011.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011
Beyond Section 49: Control of the use of lethal force

Bruce, David.  2011. Beyond section 49: Control of the use of force. SA Crime Quarterly 36.  Institutue for Security Studies. (1.2MB)

Monday, 08 August 2011
Police and the use of force in South Africa: Time for a new approach

Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, Institute for Security Studies and African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum  ‘Police and the use of force in South Africa: Time for a new approach, July 2011 (brochure).


For printing or reading online the brochure may also be downloaded as an 8 page document here.


Copies of the brochure may be obtained from Maimuna Suliman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Wednesday, 06 July 2011
Anger, hatred, or just heartlessness? Defining gratuitous violence.
Bruce, D. (December 2010). Anger, hatred, or just heartlessness? Defining gratuitous violence. In SA Crime Quarterly No.34 (pdf 624Kb)
Wednesday, 01 December 2010
An Acceptable Price to Pay. The use of lethal force by police in South Africa.
Bruce, D. (2010). An Acceptable Price to Pay. The use of lethal force by police in South Africa. Open Society Foundation for South Africa. (pdf 592Kb)
Thursday, 05 August 2010
Copyright © 2021 CSVR. All Rights Reserved.