|Advocate Simi Pillay-van Graan
Chief Executive Officer
BACSA CEO, Adv. Simi Pillay-van Graan comments on the
Annual 2012/13 Crime Statistics
Thursday, 19 September 2013, Johannesburg – BACSA calls for an integrated approach to reduce crime in South Africa.
Commenting on the annual 2012/13 crime statistics released this morning in Pretoria by the Minister of Police, CEO of Business Against Crime South Africa (BACSA) Adv Simi Pillay-van Graan said:
“BACSA is concerned about the high rate of crime, which continues unfortunately to be unsatisfactorily high. While significant efforts are being made by Government to address it by focusing on effective law enforcement, the dynamics surrounding the rate and type of crimes that are prevalent are dependent on many factors, including social conditions such as poverty, loss of employment and lack of family support amongst others.
We strongly believe an integrated approach involving most government departments, generous participation from business’ and communities is the only way to change the situation drastically.
Business participation is critical to enabling an effective strategy to combat crime nationally, and as a united front we plan to continue to provide government with the support it requires to address crime. BACSA appeals to businesses who are not involved in fighting crime in the country to come on board and strengthen Governments’ hand. The role of business in supporting the criminal justice system is important not only because it is imperative that all incidents of crime are reported, but due to the need for proper or reasonable security measures to protect property and person.
BACSA is proud to see that the non-ferrous crime combating committee is bearing fruit. Alongside the SAPS and state owned enterprises such as Eskom, Telkom and Transnet, BACSA has driven this initiative since 2004. BACSA's business partners made significant investments in this initiative which shows that there is a definite need for a Public-Private Partnership to effectively deal with crime.
Although there has been increase in small businesses in the country which means there is a larger base, we are concerned about the rise in the number of small business robberies. Small businesses are an easy target for criminals considering most keep their operational expenses to a minimum and cannot afford high levels of security. To alleviate this, BACSA is involved in an initiative to design a cash management system specifically for small businesses which is safe and cost effective. We are also exploring various other security measures appropriate for small businesses, which will be piloted soon. Visible policing around small business is essential, but we also believe Small Business Associations should involve law enforcement agencies as a key stakeholder to prevent them from becoming victims of crime.
Truck hi-jackings have gone up considerably. It is an area of concern by business and has been raised with BACSA over recent weeks. It is directly related to the illicit economy in the country. BACSA is in the process of having discussions with big businesses that are subject to truck hi-jackings to develop an anti-hijacking strategy. This will focus on stabilizing and eradicating the illicit economy in South Africa.
Corruption continues to be a problem. In the same way that it takes at least two parties to commit a corrupt act, it will take two parties to curb the problem. Crime thrives on opportunity, and we need to identify and curtail those opportunities which most commonly lead to crimes occurring.
While Government is guided by legislation and law enforcement policies, business has a responsibility to ensure that it does not become a catalyst for criminal conduct indirectly. Good governance is critical, along with responsible leadership, to ensure that any form of unethical conduct, dishonesty or criminal conduct does not have an opportunity to thrive.
As more people participate, crime control becomes more effective, the fear of crime reduces and the quality of life improves. As a result, we are actively involved in a number of projects which focus on community participation. Community Police Forums (CPF) for instance are an integral part of the national approach to crime prevention and safety. We encourage members of all communities to join their local CPF, and to establish parent based anti-crime forums at schools because awareness is one of the most powerful measures of prevention.
BACSA strives to make a positive impact through its strong partnerships with Government, the SAPS, The Department of Justice and the Department of Correctional Services.
Our message remains, that crime is something we all need to tackle together.”
Adv. Simi Pillay-van Graan
For more details on the Crime Statistics 2012/13,
please visit: http://www.saps.gov.za/statistics/reports/crimestats/2013/crime_stats.htm
Message from the CEO’s desk—Celebrating Women's Month
Q A woman leading an organisation which is against crime...this certainly defeats a stereotype... men are better equipped to deal with crime etc...How would you respond to this?
A A woman is a natural born leader. I believe that a woman is the first true leader in her child’s life. It is the first person that a child looks to, for emotional, physical and spiritual nurturing. The powerful role of a woman/mother should never be underestimated. In exercising this phenomenal role, a woman can influence the direction of her child’s life, by expressing the importance of being principled, ethical, and moral in every aspect of life. With these tools in hand, a child can be nurtured not to stray off the right path.
In the same way, I believe that a woman has a different understanding of the crime environment, a deeper understanding of the underlying problems, and not just taking notice of the symptoms. It is for this reason, that as a leader, a woman can be far more influential when it comes to addressing the root of the crime problem, as she sees people, not a role to play to fulfill her job.
Q What do you feel that you as a woman can bring into Business Against Crime? Or what have you brought into Business Against Crime as a woman, which a man was unlikely to have done.
A After devoting close to 20 years of my life in the anti-crime environment, it becomes apparent that whilst poverty may contribute to the high crime rate in the country, most of it is as a result of moral decay in society. Much of this is attributed to the fact, that people have become more materialistic in their needs, thus sometimes, causing leaders to overlook immoral Adv. Simi Pillay-van Graan and unethical behavior, especially in the workplace, as a norm. It is easier to keep quiet than to address issues of this nature.
A woman faces many challenges, especially in any leadership role. The trick is to make sure you are heard. People hear you when you stick to your principles and convictions, irrespective of the challenges you face. I am a woman who has the courage to stand up against anything that goes against my principles for justice, truth and fairness to all.
Q What do you love about what you do?
A I believe that what you choose to do in your life should enlighten you, and not be a source of darkness in your path. The crime environment can be a very depressing one; however, it is a subjective choice that one has to make. The source of positive enlightenment for me is the fact that I am in a position to change the crime situation in the country, and at the same time make a significant contribution to South Africa’s economic and social development, by having the opportunity and the experience to act as an effective change agent. Knowing that you can change lives for the better, by supporting government in achieving an effective and strong criminal justice system, which will guarantee justice for all, is worth striving for.
Q What is your vision for South Africa in terms of crime, and how do you hope to contribute to this?
A It is unfortunate that South Africa is globally recognized as a country with a high crime rate, yet crime is a global phenomenon. Being a positive person, I see a huge opportunity for South Africa to prove to the international community that we can create the international benchmark to effectively address crime. To do this we must create a world class criminal justice system which would act as an effective deterrent to criminals or potential criminals.
Until next time.
Adv. Simi Pillay-van Graan
BACSA's Involvement on Crime Prevention
The Insurance Institute of South Africa (IISA) - held their annual conference from 28-31 July 2013 at Sun City. BACSA's CEO, Advocate Simi Pillay-van Graan was interviewed by RISKSA. See her interview on "BACSA's involvement on Crime Prevention"
To honour the life and legacy of Tata Madiba, Business Against Crime South Africa (BACSA) sent out an appeal to business’ requesting them to join hands and become Mandela Day Changemakers by making a contribution with food hampers and blankets so that we can make a difference to the less fortunate people around us.
There was an overwhelming response from businesses as well as employees of businesses where BACSA received donations such as, cash, blankets, clothing and food.
BACSA wishes to thank the following organisations and their employees for contributions:
|Coronation Assets Management||Ctrack South Africa Pty Ltd|
|Digicore Holdings Ltd||Ethos Private Equity|
|Exxaro Services||FirstRand Group Ltd (Mr Laurie Dippenaar)|
|HDI-Gerling Insurance of SA Ltd||Lubman Pty Ltd|
|MMI Holdings Ltd||Natsure|
|PG Group Pty Ltd||Pick n Pay, Outspan Road, Morningside|
|Sasfin Bank||South Africa Insurance Association|
|South African Insurance Crime Bureau|
The BACSA staff did their “Mandela deed” by handing out most of the gifts on the 18th of July. The remaining items will be donated to other deserving organisations or individuals during the next 2-3 weeks. One of the main recipients was Sibonile School, which is based in Kliprivier, where children with visual impairment are provided with a conducive learning environment. This school is managed by Jicama 89 who raises funds for them. The Sibonile School provides schooling, accommodation, food and clothing for 189 children, who are either partially sighted, totally blind or deaf and blind. The goal of Jicama 89 is to fully prepare the visually impaired persons for meaningful integration/inclusion the society. Their long terms goals is to establish a vocational training centre for the blind, where the visually impaired will be empowered with specialised training so as to gain independence and employment.
BACSA staff spent the afternoon with these children where we provided them with hotdog rolls, fruit juices, apples and a gift bag filled with chips and sweets. Thereafter, a birthday cake was cut to celebrate Tata Madiba’s birthday. With the great inspiration and change experienced by Tata Madiba, this was a heartwarming experience for BACSA staff members to become “Changemakers”.
BACSA once again thanks each and every contributor that made this opportunity possible. Please visit our Facebook page for photographs.
Adv. Simi Pillay-van Graan
Vehicle crimes are excessively high, taking on various forms, from vehicle hi-jackings, thefts of motor vehicles, and theft out of motor vehicles, including the recent remote jamming incidents. BACSA is currently actively involved in this environment, and is looking to support government in ensuring accurate identification of stolen vehicles, as well as ensuring successful prosecutions. There are various law enforcement challenges in this domain. One of the major contributing factors are the weak South African borderlines, as this is an open door to criminals to take the stolen vehicles out of the country.
Much of law enforcements frustrations are related not only to the limitations of our own criminal justice system, but that of the SADC countries. When stolen vehicles cross over South African borders, it is a difficult task to bring them back into the country due to jurisdictional challenges. In some instances where a person is prosecuted outside of South Africa for being in possession of an alleged stolen vehicle from South Africa, the accused is allowed full use and enjoyment of the vehicle until the case is finalised. This sometimes takes a few years, resulting in the obvious. If one is fortunate enough to retrieve one’s stolen vehicle, the risk of it being damaged is high, not to mention the escalated depreciation in the vehicles value. There are also costs associated with getting the real owner of the vehicle into the SADC country to identify his vehicle. It is the owner who has to bear the costs, taking into account the risk that it may not even be his/her vehicle. These challenges have resulted in law enforcement agencies simply abandoning these identified vehicles where they have been found due to the challenges in getting around the red tape. This has a huge negative impact on insurance companies who now have to cover the cost of the stolen vehicles with very little chance of retrieving it from outside South African bordering countries. It results in higher insurance premiums to the customer to cover these losses. In cases where the person is not insured it becomes a huge financial burden on the individual, especially where the perpetrator is outside South African Borders and cannot be prosecuted.
However, in instances where the perpetrator is prosecuted and convicted in the country, the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977, allows for the victim to apply to the court for financial relief from the perpetrator. Section 300 of the Act allows a victim of crime to claim compensation from the convicted person where the offence causes damage to or loss of property. This relief is available to victims where the perpetrator has been convicted by a superior court, a regional court, or a magistrates’ court, provided the victim can prove the amount of damages claimed. However, a regional court or a magistrates’ court shall not make any such award for compensation if the amount exceeds the amount determined by the Minister from time to time. The compensation order is equivalent to a civil order in the respective courts.
BACSA is currently in the process of engaging with law enforcement agencies and the judiciaries of SADC countries, in anticipation of securing a standard operating procedure between the identified countries and South Africa, with a view to securing the return of stolen vehicles that cross the borders. South Africa has lost many vehicles as a result of the blockages that have been created by government red tape in neighboring countries.
Should you require more information on the above, please feel free to contact our offices. Be safe, and I look forward to sending you our next Newsletter.
Adv. Simi Pillay-van Graan
Community involvement in crime prevention and detection should not be underestimated. Whilst law enforcement agencies are actively involved in this domain, there is an onus on all members of the community to take steps in ensuring their safety and that of others in the community.
We all should ensure that we do not allow a situation which contributes to exposure of our neighbours to potential crime situations. Such instances would include unsupervised building contractors on your property, abandoned buildings which is open to house potential criminals, allowing strangers to set up home on your open piece of land, etc. These are examples of a disorganized community. Everybody wants to live in a safe and secure environment.
The eyes and ears of community members in detecting criminal activity are far more effective than the capabilities of law enforcement agencies. There must be constant communication between community members and a pro-active mindset to addressing crime. Whilst some areas have easy access to police services, there should still be designated homes on each street should a member of that community be in danger. An example would be a child who believes he is being followed from school or is in any other danger.
It is also paramount that community forums are always aware of their sector policing contact details for all emergencies. There are many different approaches to neighborhood crime prevention. The attempt is to establish a cohesive and socially aware community where crime cannot flourish.
Communities need to set up a database of all incidents in the neighborhood incorporating as much detail as possible, such as modus operandi, description of the suspect/s if they were seen, description of the suspects clothing, hair, shoes, distinctive marks, vehicle description, etc. This information must be circulated to all in the neighborhood as soon as possible, including the local police, with a view to possibly identifying and apprehending the suspect if he is still in the area. Members must use this facility to inform community members if you will be bringing strangers on your property and on which dates. This simply allows neighbours to be more vigilant in securing their properties and for the sake of the community.
Business’ plays a critical role in enabling these forums to be sustainable and effective. Having strong community participation and leadership in fighting crime will also enhance productivity and profit margins of local businesses. So get going and protect your community from crime.
BACSA is actively involved with Community Policing forums in Gauteng as part of the Community Mobilisation Project which has been undertaken in partnership with the South African Police Services. We strongly believe that together we can all make a difference in the fight against crime. Read more about this project on page 2, and let us hear your comments on our Newsletters and initiatives.
Have a safe April and be alert at all times.
Adv. Simi Pillay-van Graan
Crime seems to be taking centre stage in the country over the last 12 months. From Marikana, violent actions toward women and children, the Oscar Pistorius case, and the alleged police brutalities, has contributed to South Africa suffering as a nation. Investor perception in the country is poor arising out of fear for the crime situation that has been painted globally through electronic media, and the current electricity crisis facing the nation and international investors operating business’ in South Africa.
Unless negative international perception and the rate of crime in the country is reduced, there is going to be a clear decline in economic growth, loss of jobs and a rise in poverty levels. Violent and commercial crimes in the country need to be addressed, not only through the law enforcement vehicles in the country, but through the involvement of civil society organisations and citizens of the country who can spread teachings on high moral values, ethical behavior, and respect for every persons right to life and dignity. The country needs a mindset change. Businesses also plays a critical role in facilitating this positive mindset change. There should be no tolerance toward any criminal or unethical conduct in the workplace. All criminal conduct should be reported to the police. Businesses must ensure that they practice good governance throughout the organisation, that there is clear audit trails and accountability in the manner in which business is conducted. This forces employees to fall in line with good ethical and moral practices which extend to positive behaviour change even outside the business environment, and the teaching goes on. Sexual harassment incidents should also receive serious attention by management.
International perception of the crime situation in the country, in part, has been blamed on the way the criminal justice system operates. It is the belief of some international companies that it is not effective enough to deter criminal activity in the country, especially where the alleged suspects are the police themselves. The criminal justice system is currently going through a revamp. It is a long term initiative, which has recently been spearheaded by the JCPS cluster Ministers, and is showing some progress under their leadership. Business Against Crime South Africa (BACSA) is also playing a critical role in this initiative.
Whilst there is a huge reliance on the criminal justice system to perform effectively to prevent and address crime, it is not the complete solution to the situation at hand. There are certain crimes that cannot be effectively addressed through this system and require a parallel process to deal with it in the correct manner. An example of this would be some of the drug related cases, especially those involving the consumption of drugs. The perpetrator is prosecuted, sentenced to a fine, and is out again consuming drugs. If he receives a term of imprisonment, this does not deter his habit, because in most instances he will continue as before. The intention of the criminal justice system to punish and rehabilitate is therefore not adequate. This is an example of a social crime, where the parallel process referred to above should focus on treating and rehabilitating the person to ensure that he/she can make a positive contribution to society once out of the program and is drug free. As drugs and alcohol abuse are one of the key factors which contribute to the commission of contact crimes in the country, treating the problem will also reduce the violent crimes associated with drugs and alcohol. We should be looking beyond symptomatic solutions to addressing crime, if there is to be a positive impact on the rate of crime. Just some food for thought.
I hope you enjoy reading this edition of our Newsletter, which has an interesting article on the Fingerprint legislation. Be safe, and help us to build our country into a crime-free zone. We look forward to your contribution for our future editions.
Adv. Simi Pillay-van Graan
Business Against Crime South Africa (BACSA) wishes you and your family a wonderful, productive, and safe year ahead.
The festive season has come and gone with law enforcement on high alert. The hard work and dedication put into policing South Africa during the recent festive season, was very apparent in the visibility of police officials around malls, highways, and holiday destinations throughout the country. Business Against Crime South Africa is proud of the many women and men of the South African Police Service, who placed their own lives and safety at risk to protect the country, especially during the festive season. We commend the leadership of the Minister of Police, Minister Nathi Mthethwa, and the National Commissioner of Police, General Ria Phiyega, in taking the organization to new heights, with a new vision. The feedback is encouraging and is a clear indicator that crime can be controlled. It is evident that policing violent and other serious crime was high on the agenda of the Festive Season operations, and whilst the police have made 67,000 arrests, it also raises a concern that these crimes are occurring at a very high rate over a short period of time. There is clearly a need to influence a mindset change in communities where these crimes are rife, in addition to pro-active policing, and collaboration with outside parties.
The large number of road deaths is quite concerning. Whilst policing roads and highways is effective and has saved many lives over the festive season, the courts play a key role in deterring drunken driving by implementing stringent penalties. It is also important for the Department of Transport to focus more attention on internal processes which regulate the issuing of licences and roadworthy certificates to ensure that all drivers are competent to drive a vehicle and that all vehicles on the roads are roadworthy. Often lives are lost as a result of non-compliance with these two factors. The efficient and effective criminal justice system is also the core to effective crime management in the country.
Drugs remain a huge concern as the environment in which many suppliers and illegal drug manufacturers operate is extremely well organised. The social destruction is spreading fast, and many of our children and youth have become victims of drug abuse, due to poor security and problem identification at schools. Schools need to play a more pro-active role in identifying drugs and drug use on school premises. There should be compulsory drug testing in all schools, and drug rehabilitation programs for children/youth should be included in the national plan of the Department of Education. As the saying goes, "it is easier to build a child than to repair an adult". BACSA will be embarking on a Narcotics project with the Hawks this year. The focus will be multi-dimensional and will rely on getting community and business co-operation with the aim of getting more young people to move away from drug use, to improve their potential to find employment and contribute positively to the economy. The need for a multi-dimensional approach involving various government departments, business, and communities has become apparent, as the possible solution to addressing the drug endemic in the country.
BACSA will be embarking on an exciting and dynamic journey this year. We look forward to your continued support and anticipate making huge in-roads in addressing crime locally and across borders.
We hope that more businesses will come on board to enable BACSA to achieve far more than it has over the last 16 years.
Please support the country's growth and development, only you can help us to achieve this.
Look out for our next Newsletter, which will be published on a monthly basis. This month we included an interesting study conducted by Grant Thornton. We hope you find this informative and thought provoking.
"Be the change you want to see in the world" (Mahatma Gandhi)
Adv. Simi Pillay-van Graan
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