• Re: SA's growing organised crime epidemic: is it becoming a "Mafia Stat

    From Coming to California@21:1/5 to AlleyCat on Thu Jun 29 10:19:22 2023
    XPost: alt.california, alt.politics, alt.politics.usa.republican
    XPost: talk.politics.guns

    AlleyCat <al@aohell.com> wrote in news:slufsu$b7a$243@news.dns-netz.com:

    Coming to a Northern California shithole city thanks to Gavin Newsom!

    South Africa has become a hub of organised crime, according to a report by
    the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime. Organised networks, both inside and outside the state, are enabling and exploiting opportunities for private gain and unfairly impacting economic activity in
    both public and private sectors. Criminal influence has seeped into
    healthcare, education, and parastatals, making speaking out against
    malfeasance a dangerous proposition. The growing prevalence of organised
    crime has led to calls of South Africa becoming a “mafia state.” The
    government must assert its authority and better policing strategies are necessary to prevent the slide towards a criminal state.

    Link between crime and politics in South Africa raises concerns about
    criminal gangs taking over
    By Sandy Africa

    A report by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime
    (Gitoc) released in September 2022 argues that South Africa has
    increasingly become a centre of organised crime, transcending national boundaries.

    The picture emerging from the report is that there are organised networks inside and outside the state that enable, facilitate and exploit
    opportunities for private gain. Or, they exercise unfair advantage in
    economic activity in the public and private sectors, using coercive
    methods. Some actively go about sabotaging critical infrastructure to
    benefit from this.

    The areas of public life where criminals exploit or intimidate their way
    into influence are growing. In recent times grand-scale crime has seeped through to healthcare, education and parastatals. Speaking out against malfeasance comes at a high price.

    This is apart from the scores of political assassinations of local
    activists and officials, either for political gain or sheer vengeance
    against those who dare to call out corruption.

    Mafia state
    There is no doubt that there is a growing ecosystem of organised crime overwhelming the state and public life in the country. And, because
    political actors or state institutions are so often implicated in it, some commentators are even asking if South Africa is becoming a “mafia state”.

    The term “mafia state” refers to the interpenetration of governments and organised crime networks. In his influential 2012 article, Mafia States, Venezuelan journalist and writer Moises Naim said:

    In a mafia state, high government officials actually become integral
    players in, if not the leaders of, criminal enterprises, and the defence
    and promotion of those enterprises’ businesses become official priorities.

    There is no single prototype for when a state can be labelled a mafia
    state. The concept is best thought of as a spectrum. The most extreme
    cases involve politicians at the highest levels taking direct control of organised crime operations. Other characteristics are collusion between
    crime syndicates and powerful political figures, money laundering to hide illicit proceeds, and the use of violence and intimidation to protect
    those involved.

    The Gitoc report shies away from using the label “mafia state” to describe South Africa. What it does make clear is that there is a proliferation of
    crime networks that involves not just criminal “kingpins” and politically connected individuals but also ordinary people. They become part of this
    “value chain”, for different historical reasons. But South Africa may be reaching a point where the link between crime and politics is sustained
    because there are role-players who do not want to see it changing.

    Fighting corruption
    The prevalence of criminal elements within the state does not mean that
    the whole of the state has become a criminal enterprise. But it is true
    that many state institutions, have been targeted by criminals, with the collusion of people on the inside.

    South Africans are not resigned to the criminalisation of the state, and
    are actively challenging it. Many of the revelations about fraud,
    corruption and nepotism come from principled whistle-blowers within state structures. Others come from the relatively free media, and voices in
    civil society and politics. Some of the malfeasance has been revealed by inquiries initiated by the executive itself. This is the case with the
    Zondo Commission, which probed state capture.

    Poor communication strategies make it difficult for ordinary citizens to
    assess how the state is responding to these challenges. A case in point is
    the government’s decision to deploy the military to beef up security at
    several electricity generation facilities. It remains to be seen whether
    the deployment will be able to stop the acts of sabotage that the ESKOM
    senior management claim to be a major factor in the worsening energy

    As with the July 2021 riots, sparked by the jailing of former president
    Jacob Zuma for contempt of court, there are conflicting public
    pronouncements from cabinet ministers on critical sectors and services
    affected by crime.

    The political economy of organised crime
    The South African economy has a formal sector (“first economy”) and an
    informal sector (“second economy”). Economists call this a dual economy.
    To this should be added a “third economy” – the illicit economic
    activities described above, that have seeped into the formal and informal economies.

    The overlap between the licit and the illicit economy in South Africa is complex. Even big, multinational companies may also covertly engage in
    illicit operations in spite of appearances. On the other hand, criminals
    often exploit vulnerable people where the state has failed to meet basic
    needs: they offer jobs, opportunities and income, a phenomenon seen not
    only in South Africa, but across the African continent.

    Looking forward
    Part of the reset South Africa needs to untangle political and crime
    networks is better policing and security strategies. The state must be
    able to assert its authority in the interests of the majority, law-abiding citizens who want to live honest lives in a climate of certainty.

    If the crime-politics nexus is being deliberately sustained through the collusion of influential actors within the state, then it is going to be
    much harder to dismantle.

    The resources being spent to address crime will be ineffective. The
    spectre of corrupt, pliable or compromised people in the criminal justice sector will make the future more unstable. Violence and threats against
    those who stand up against organised crime will become more commonplace.

    The reports of the Zondo Commission, the Special Investigating Unit, whistle-blower reports, work by investigative journalists, research by academics, think tanks and civil society organisations, all go some way
    towards showing how the slide towards a criminal state can be halted. The criminal justice system must bring criminals to book, not give way to

    But more important than combating crime is asking the difficult questions
    about how ordinary people end up involved in organised crime, and why the country’s democracy is becoming more polarised.

    If the dire socio-economic conditions persist, there is every likelihood
    that organised criminals will continue to exploit the contradictions in society, and organised crime markets will expand.

    The stakes are high. Stopping South Africa from becoming a “mafia state”
    ought to be a priority for everyone. This will become a key issue of
    concern to voters ahead of the 2024 national general elections.


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