Send Your Letter

Dear Herman Mashaba,

South Africa is an international pariah state when viewed from the perspective of the rates of violent crime. With more than 80 people murdered per day and five reported rapes per hour, it is clear that this country’s criminal justice system has already collapsed.

Yet, it is an election year and hitherto no political party, and certainly not the government, has come forward with any creative and sustainable way to end the scourge of violence.

I write to you to endorse the solutions put forward by the Section 12 Initiative, which is grounded in section 12 of the Constitution. These solutions are:
  • Criminality in South Africa must be properly defined. As such, the Section 12 Initiative calls upon Parliament to adopt a Criminal Code that will be a central repository stating every offence recognised by our law alongside the penalty associated with it.

  • The criminal justice system requires significant development. Police officers and prosecutors require higher standards and better training. Perhaps most importantly, South Africa’s prison capacity must be radically expanded, primarily to ensure that violent and nonviolent offenders are never housed in the same facilities.

  • Widespread decriminalisation is necessary to ensure the limited resources that are available to the police service, prosecuting service, and prison service, are focused on real crimes against people or their property. There are thousands of activities and kinds of conduct in South Africa that could land one in prison when this should not be the case. Even now, Parliament is processing various bills that criminalise non-violence, including the Tobacco Bill, which could see people imprisoned for smoking or vaping privately in their own homes.

  • The national police, prosecutors, and prison service have shown themselves incapable of dealing swiftly with violence in this country. As such, the Section 12 Initiative proposes deep decentralisation of all the functions and powers related to criminal justice in South Africa. Local and provincial authorities, with national assistance where necessary, should be allowed to form their own institutions and plans around policing, prosecution, and incarceration. Furthermore, private enterprises, such as security firms, and communal entities, such as neighbourhood watches, should be empowered to deal more thoroughly with violent crime. Private prosecution must also be more fully enabled.

Violent crime has to be at the top of the electoral agenda in 2024. South African politics cannot afford to continue with business as usual. Our economic growth and prosperity, our dignity and security, and our liberty depends on it.  


Yours sincerely,
Send to others as well? (select below)