Advocate Simi Pillay-van Graan
Message from the CEO’s desk
Corruption and bribery is probably one of the most serious crimes in the world that leads to a degeneration of most countries’ economic development and social upliftment. Business plays a critical role in identifying, reporting and deterring such activities. Although many organisations in the private sector may not recognise the severe impact of corrupt and unethical behaviour on the organisation itself, the latter has a direct impact on positive growth and development of the business sector in the country, especially its bottom line. BACSA and its partners have adopted a no tolerance approach to bribery and corruption and urges all business entities to take a pro-active approach in support of this stance. This article is important to every level of leadership within the business sector therefore, effective compliance with the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, No. 12 of 2004 is imperative is.
South Africa is party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. South Africa is also a Member of the OECD Working Group on Bribery in International Business Transactions which is responsible for monitoring the implementation and enforcement of the OECD Convention.
Article 1 of the Convention requires of State Parties to criminalise the offering, promising or giving of any undue pecuniary or other advantage to a foreign public official, for that official or for a third party, in order that the official act or refrain from acting in relation to the performance of official duties, in order to obtain or retain business or other improper advantage in the conduct of international business.
South Africa criminalized the above provision in Section 5 of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, No 12 of 2004. This section provides as follows:
- Any person who, directly or indirectly, gives or agrees or offers to give any gratification to a foreign public official, whether for the benefit of that foreign public official or for the benefit of another person, in order to act, personally or by influencing another person so to act, in a manner
- Without derogating from the generality of section 2(4), "to act" in subsection (1) includes
b. obtaining or retaining a contract, business or an advantage in the conduct of business of that foreign state or public international organisation.
a. that amounts to the -
i. illegal, dishonest, unauthorised, incomplete, or biased; or
ii. misuse or selling of information or material acquired in the course of the exercise, carrying out or performance of any powers, duties or functions arising out of a constitutional, statutory, contractual or any other legal obligation;
b. that amounts to the -
i. abuse of a position of authority;
ii. a breach of trust; or
iii. the violation of a legal duty or a set of rules;
c. designed to achieve an unjustified result; or
d. that amounts to any other unauthorised or improper inducement to do or not to do anything, is guilty of the offence of corrupt activities relating to foreign public officials.
Foreign Public Official is defined in Section 1 of The Act as:
- any person holding a legislative, administrative or judicial office of a foreign state;
- any person performing public functions for a foreign state, including any person employed by a board, commission, corporation or other body or authority that performs a function on behalf of the foreign state; or
- an official or agent of a public international organisation.
It is important to note that The Act has extra-territorial application. In other words, even if the corrupt act occurred outside the Republic, regardless of whether the act constitutes an offence at the place of its commission, courts in SA will have jurisdiction if the person to be charged:
- Is a citizen of the RSA;
- Ordinarily resident of the RSA;
- Was arrested in South African territory at the time of the offence;
- Is a company, incorporated or registered, in the RSA; or
- Any body of persons, corporate or incorporated, in the Republic.
Certain persons (CEO’s / managers / partners, etc) who hold a position of authority are compelled by section 34 of the Act to report their knowledge or suspicion of any form of corruption or common law offences such as, inter alia, fraud and theft to the DPCI. Failure to do so constitutes an offence.
Access the South African Police Services website and click on the Hawks icon for access to the forms that must be completed. You will be advised on how to submit the forms to the DPCI.
Persons who are not defined as a person who hold a position of authority are also encouraged to report corruption-related offences to their nearest police station or to submit such complaints to Crime Stop. Should you have any queries or questions, please email me at email@example.com.
Adv. Simi Pillay-van Graan
"Corruption is authority plus monopoly minus transparency.” - Unknown
BUSINESS AGAINST CRIME SOUTH AFRICA (BACSA) LAUNCHES
BREATHALYSER INITIATIVE TO ENCOURAGE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY
Monday, 7 April 2014, Johannesburg – BACSA working with the Department of Transport and Road Agencies to help curb incidences caused by driving under the influence.
Business Against Crime South Africa (BACSA) today announced a campaign to supply disposable breathalysers to South Africans in ensuring greater personal responsibility that they are under the limit before getting behind the wheel of a car.
BACSA CEO, Adv Simi Pillay-van Graan, said “We aim to educate people, create awareness and encourage personal responsibility for alcohol consumption to reduce road accidents and deaths due to drinking and driving”.
In the lead up to the Easter Holidays, BACSA is working closely with the Department of Transport to align the initiatives of Road Agencies and Government Departments in improving road safety and reducing the incidence of crime and vehicle accidents.
The initiative is in its early phases and currently the breathalysers can be bought at the following outlets in Gauteng with a view to expanding their distribution to more outlets throughout the country: Vorna Valley Tops Spar (Midrand), Winmore Tops Spar (Moreleta Park Pretoria), Palms Tops Spar (Boksburg), Rietfontein Road Tops Spar, Pick ‘n Pay Towers (Boksburg) and Liquor Boys (Boksburg).
BACSA is also mobilising its business partners to expand the distribution of the breathalysers to their employees in encouraging personal responsibility to help curb incidences caused by driving under the influence.
Pillay-van Graan adds, “This is one of a number of initiatives that BACSA is rolling out as an effective collaboration between BACSA and various Government Departments, ensuring that the entire criminal justice system is strengthened and initiatives are executed in an aligned and integrated manner throughout various government departments. The initiative aims to assist in unblocking court rolls and reducing the burden placed on forensic laboratories in the future. The reduction in road accidents should reduce the heavy demands placed on public health institutions and the insurance sector.”
BACSA AND SAPS SIGN MOU TO ENHANCE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
The South African Police Service (SAPS) and Business Against Crime South Africa (BACSA) have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on 19 February 2014. The MOU strengthens the partnership between the SAPS and BACSA with one of the core focus areas being to enhance the effectiveness of the Criminal Justice System as a whole.
This is one of a series of MOU’s to be signed in the first quarter of 2014 by BACSA with various Government Departments within the law enforcement domain which will enable BACSA to act as a “golden thread” across the entire Criminal Justice System. The support provided to Government will ensure integration and alignment of efforts in the Criminal Justice domain. The effective functioning of the Criminal Justice System as a whole provides the necessary support required to make all other existing anti-crime efforts successful. It is also an effective medium that could deter criminal conduct.
The SAPS / BACSA MOU will address critical focus areas of Government such as the enhancement of frontline services or service delivery to communities. In addition to this, the MOU will address Small Business Robberies and the Illicit Economy amongst various other initiatives identified by both parties as national areas of priority.
The National Commissioner of Police has on several occasions publicly proclaimed that she will be engaging various stakeholders to partner the SAPS in preventing and combating crime.
The National Commissioner of Police, General Riah Phiyega, said: “We have now re-affirmed our partnership with BACSA by signing this MOU, further to the MOU which was signed several years ago. We are committed, through this partnership, to working closely with the formal and informal business sector to make their environments safer and to eradicate white collar crime and corruption which is harming our economy. Several projects are lined up and we pledge our commitment at all levels to ensure quality outputs.”
BACSA CEO ,Adv Simi Pillay-van Graan, said: “BACSA is deeply encouraged by the partnership and strongly advocates that jointly, much more can be done to eradicate crime in the country to build South Africa’s socio-economic status globally. The role of business is critical and without business support and proactive participation in the anti-crime domain, Government’s efforts may be diluted. “The SAPS have done much to protect our communities over the years. A lot of the good work and sacrifice goes unnoticed due to recent negative media attention which normally overshadows police successes. As BACSA, we believe that Government requires the joining of hands in this fight and the business community enables us to do
BACSA will also finalize an MOU with the Department of Correctional Services over the next few weeks. This MOU is critical in addressing current challenges faced by the Department and will facilitate integration between the various law enforcement efforts which Government is currently leading.
Adv. Simi Pillay-van Graan
"We will be better and braver if we engage and inquire than if we indulge in the idle fancy that we already know.” - Plato
(November / December 2013)
Business Against Crime South Africa Board and staff are deeply saddened by the passing away of one of the world’s greatest leaders, President Nelson Mandela.
We are proud as an organisation to be part of the flame lit by this great leader in his quest for peace and unity in a crime-free country. In 1996, it was this giant man that requested business to join hands with Government in the fight against crime. As a result of his calling, Business Against Crime South Africa was established 17 years ago. As BACSA, we will continue to ensure that Madiba’s dream is realized, by committing ourselves to follow in his footsteps and develop more leaders of his caliber to show the world the path to peace and national growth. His passing has left us as a nation with the responsibility to carry the torch forward and be the united front the world is looking to for the global benchmark in leadership, respect, tolerance and the love for people.
BACSA will continue to keep the flame burning as we aim to eradicate crime in the country. Together with the rest of the world, we must keep Madiba alive and spread his life teachings to current and future generations to make the significant positive changes we all desire and to find peace and happiness globally.
As 2013 comes to closure, it is a time to reflect on the past year. BACSA had a very successful year in becoming a transformational organisation which is striving to address the root of crime in the country.
I am delighted to announce that Peter Moyo has been appointed as Chairman of the BACSA Board.
We had a very successful dinner event in November which was done in honor of all our stakeholders, both from Government and Business. If it were not for the leadership and commitment from Government and the contributions from business, both in cash and kind, BACSA would not be able to continue with carrying out its important work. I wish to thank all of our stakeholders once again for their continued support and passion expressed in the fight against crime. BACSA looks forward to 2014 and commits to making great strides in reducing the crime rate in the country with both its business and Government partners.
This is also a time for relaxation and joyous festivities. I urge you to be vigilant and safe at all times amidst the mad rush of shopping and going on holidays. If you have small children, please keep a steady eye on them at all times, especially in malls and public places so that you know where they are at every split second. Try not to carry cash with you and rather deposit your money into a credit or debit card to do your purchases. Be aware of what is happening in your surroundings at all times.
BACSA appeals to all to consume liquor responsibly and to not drive whilst under the influence of liquor at all. Someone else’s life may depend on you and the decisions you take this festive season. If you are going away, travel safely, keep a safe following distance and keep to the speed limits. Whilst you are engaged in festivities, spare a thought for those who are not as fortunate and lend a helping hand. Be safe and be responsible this festive season. We look forward to seeing you in the New Year. God Bless you and your families.
Over the last year BACSA changed its strategic focus to be aligned to the National Development Plan and the objectives identified by the national planning commission. In so doing, we have become more sensitive to the fact that crime must also be addressed to uplift the social and economic development of the country, in addition to securing safety and security. BACSA is driven to also encourage positive investor perception in the country, which has dwindled of late due to perceptions around crime, electricity shortages linked to questions around operational sustainability and policy decisions. Ironically all of these factors contribute either directly or indirectly to a thriving illicit economy in the country as well and must be addressed.
The biggest challenge is probably the diversified nature of the ways in which the illicit economy is generated and the immeasurable scope thereof. It is very difficult to put a close enough figure as to exactly how large the shadow economy is nationally or globally. In order to come anywhere close you would have to take a pro-active approach by trying to detect it first.
The only way to address the illicit economy effectively is to embark on a multi-dimensional strategic approach bringing together all parties that can play an influential role in making the change. If one has to analyze some of the crimes that contribute to the illicit economy, such as commodity thefts, vehicle thefts and hi-jacking’s, truck hi-jacking’s, corruption, buying and selling of counterfeit goods, electricity theft, and the list goes on, somewhere government plays a role, so does business and so do communities. It is BACSA’s view that bringing these partners together to perform their responsibilities in an integrated manner will start destroying the illicit economy effectively. It is not only the responsibility of law enforcement; it is also the responsibility of every business to ensure that it limits its internal risks which may contribute to this crime.
As part of BACSA’s integrated approach to addressing this crime, the expectation of our business partners is for instance:
- Unpack internal value chains and identify risks.
- Invest in proper security and identification measures to stop the market for stolen goods. BACSA is partnering with 2 UK companies who have developed a specific DNA when placed in between the commodity in transit will explode in the batch when for instance a truck carrying cigarettes is hi-jacked and perpetrators try to remove the cigarettes off the truck. These cigarettes will glow when an ultra violet torch is shone on them, alerting the buyer that they have been stolen. It also makes it easier to detect in police raids where stolen cigarettes are sold.
- When the price of a particular commodity rises, this automatically creates a demand for it. This hike in prices creates an opportunity for growth within the illicit economy. Something to perhaps debate in the Tobacco industry.
- Codes of conduct and strict disciplinary procedures.
- Red Flags – bring it to attention of HR when you notice that a staff member is living beyond their means, by way of identifying over the top material wealth which they would not be able to afford.
- Training law enforcement on commodity identification
- Developing standards to ensure that basic security measures are in place when storing and transporting high value commodities.
- Good governance and ethical leadership from the top of the company to the bottom- Annual board and executive audits. Compliance with the Companies Act, Prevention of Corruption Act, King 3. Have the ability to question what is wrong or a grey area without fear.
There are thousands of intelligence databases out there being hosted by businesses for their own company or industry use. However, these data bases fall short because the information is not shared with other business databases or with law enforcement. Understanding organized crime, means knowing that syndicates operate across industries and sectors. BACSA is proud to announce that we will be launching a Business Intelligence Centre early next year. The prototype for the datacentre has been developed and is currently being enhanced with unique features that will enable us to host all business intelligence from various industries and sectors that is put in for analysis, to identify syndicates operating in the business environment, crime trends in particular areas throughout the country, stolen vehicles, identification of suspects using face recognition technology, etc. The request to set up a central business intelligence centre came from the head of the AFU, with a view to pro-actively enable them to identify suspects and syndicated activity to conduct seizures in terms of the prevention of organized crime act. Business needs to support the Asset Forfeiture Unit to implement the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (POCA) effectively as it cannot be done solely by government. The full scope of the database will be revealed at the launch in 2014. I urge businesses, both national and international, to come on board and partner with us on this initiative, especially in light of the fact that many syndicates operate across borders.
The community helps to grow the illicit economy when they purchase stolen cigarettes, pirate DVD’s, or any commodity that is stolen. BACSA is currently actively involved with Community Policing Forums, community awareness programs which encourage the communities to look out for red flags and report immediately to the police. We have just embarked on a programme addressing leadership in schools amongst learners and educators. We need the next generation to be leaders who can take responsible decisions when confronted with the opportunity to participate in criminal or unethical conduct. The programme also extends to parents and guardians who we believe are the key leaders in a child’s life, and the programme empowers them to be better role models to their children.
BACSA’s role is to facilitate public private partnerships to bring all the role players together, and in a joint initiative, it is our role to design the best integrated strategy going forward, oversee implementation, and measure the outputs over the duration of the initiative. BACSA has specialized and skilled resources who understand the criminal justice system, business, and specialist expertise where required. We also leverage skills from our business partners where government needs the support to drive the integrated strategy forward. The trusted, strategic, partnership between government, business and communities is the only way to curb the illicit economy.
Adv. Simi Pillay-van Graan
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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