A manifesto for a safer South Africa



Criminality in South Africa must be more clearly defined. As things stand, the offences that might land one in prison are spread over a dizzying array of legislation, regulations, and the common law. 

The Section 12 Initiative is demanding that Parliament adopt a Criminal Code that contains all the offences recognised and punishable by South African law. 

The police are not adequately trained to fight violent crime nor are they held to high ethical standards. There are too few passionate prosecutors to deal with the frightening number of cases of violence that come across their desks. And South Africa’s prisons have, for decades, been overfull.

More prisons, and more and better police and prosecutors, with the resources necessary to fight violence, are necessary.





With out-of-control violent crime plaguing South African society, it is grossly inappropriate for any police, prosecutorial, or prison resources to be wasted on persecuting, prosecuting, and imprisoning those engaged in peaceful and victimless (even if objectionable) behaviour.

South African criminal law desperately requires deep and widespread decriminalisation of those activities and conduct that do not infringe upon the person or property of third parties.

The central government has failed, capacity and policy-wise, to recognise and deal with the violent crime crisis gripping South African society. This shows no signs of changing any time soon.

The authority to police and prosecute, and potentially imprison, must be decentralised not only to provincial and municipal governments. but in appropriate contexts also to communities and commercial enterprises. The institutions of private prosecution and watching-briefs must gain new relevance.