Declaration on Crime and Violence


Adopted by the NEDLAC- Secretariat for Safety and Security conference on CRIME AND VIOLENCE

We, the delegates to the Nedlac Conference on Crime, commit ourselves to making 1997 the Year of Local Action Against crime.

We accept the challenges to do more than complain about crime. We commit our organisations to take specific actions to prevent crime in all our communities, in partnerships with our local authorities and our police.

In this way we will create a safe and secure environment that encourages development and prosperity for all our people, and so we will give full expression to the values of our hard-won democracy.

We realise that the government and police cannot prevent crime on their own, without building partnerships with the people that generate effective local action, nor can community groups alone combat crime without undermining the rule of law and our democratic values.

Therefore, as representatives of national organisations working for growth and development in South Africa, we commit ourselves to build effective crime-prevention partnerships in every one of our communities during 1997.

We understand that our organisations have great influence in our neighbourhoods, and we resolve to use that influence to build strong partnerships with our local authorities that attack the root causes of crime.

We acknowledge our responsibility to galvanise our members throughout South Africa to take specific, concrete steps in their local areas to carry out local crime-prevention actions in partnership with local authorities. We know that national strategies need local action on the ground to succeed.

We recognise that the healthy development of our communities is one of the best crime-prevention measures. therefore we will take part in growth and development projects that make our communities stronger and more prosperous.

We accept that civic pride in our communities is a vital ingredient in crime prevention. We will create and implement projects that foster proud and united communities.

We acknowledge that the South African Police Service (SAPS) is changing, and is trying to reach out to join hands with the people. We will ensure that community police forums (CPFs) and other partnership structures support transformation of the SAPS.

We understand that the specific is worth more than the general. Therefore we have identified many specific initiatives that should be undertaken to fulfil our commitment to local action against crime. These ideas include:

  1. Recognising that young people are susceptible to the temptations of crime, community organisations should implement local youth action programmes that use schools, sporting institutions, role models and cultural bodies to build life skills, provide career opportunities, and offer leisure activities to give young people practical and positive alternatives to crime.
  2. The national clearing house of crime prevention information and initiatives must serve as a resource to assist communities to develop effective programmes.
  3. Communities and police must jointly accept responsibility to make community police forums effective tools for community policing, but local authorities and mayors should take more accountability for ensuring the success of local crime-prevention initiatives.
  4. Community organisations should become involved in parole boards and the process of parole.
  5. Community organisations should take an active role in correctional supervision.
  6. Communities should monitor services provided by criminal justice system for victims to identify problems and come up with improvements, and feed that into CPFs.
  7. Codes of ethics should be adopted and enforced in all companies to minimise white-collar and commercial crime.
  8. Organised labour should ensure that shops tewards are trained to participate effectively in CPFs and other crime-prevention initiatives.
  9. Communities should establish committees to manage conflict and to monitor and discipline the taxi industry, and local authorities should own and regulate the taxi ranks.
  10. Community organisations should reproduce the best examples of local victim-support programmes such as the Guguletu project and the Eskom workplace scheme.

Each national organisation taking part in this conference commits itself to announce a locally focused action plan by the end of January covering specific projects and programmes. The Department of Safety and Security commits itself to support these organisations in defining their crime-prevention programmes.

We realise that small projects can have as much impact as grand-scale programmes, and we resolve to pursue even the smallest local effort on our street or our block, that may serve as another brick in the foundation of safety and security. In this way, many small efforts will come together in a critical mass of great social power.

Issued by the Nedlac Conference on Crime and Violence
Thursday, 21 November 1996