Implicit in President Mbeki's controversial announcement in February 2003 that the Commandos are to be
phased out is a statement that the SAPS is now strong enough to police rural South Africa on its own, and that
the uncomfortable, transitional role the military has been playing in this area can come to an end. The key
question posed in a recent ISS study was whether rural policing would be strengthened or weakened by the
decision. The research suggests that closing the Commandos will weaken rural policing but strengthen the
policing of contact crimes in rural towns.
In the hardest hit regions of the world, the HIV / AIDS epidemic is increasing poverty and inequality and
reversing decades of improvements in health, education, and life-expectancy. It is also leaving millions of
children orphaned and living in situations of acute vulnerability. Yet, even as the international community
mobilises in support of these young people, some researchers and practitioners are linking orphaning and
crime, suggesting that growing numbers of impoverished orphans may pose a threat to individual and
communal security in some countries. This connection is generally presented as a neat, linear relationship. But
is this the case?
The Departments of Education, Health and Social Development bear the main responsibility for taking care of
South Africa's children through the fulfilment of their core functions, as well as various interdepartmental
programmes. These services and programmes provide many important opportunities for crime prevention.
This article assesses the potential of these three departments to help prevent crime among children and youth
up to the age of 18.
A witness satisfaction survey among 450 witnesses at three magistrates' courts in Gauteng shows that witness
intimidation and fear are more pervasive than is generally acknowledged. These problems require responses
that go beyond the Witness Protection Programme which is intended to deal only with a small number of the
most extreme cases of intimidation.
The latest data from the National Injury Mortality Surveillance System - the most detailed source on the
'who, what, when, where and how' of fatal injuries in South Africa - shows that homicide remains the most
common cause of injury-related deaths. Homicide rates varied significantly between the four major urban
centres covered, and firearms were a key contributor to the high homicide rates. Alcohol was confirmed as
an important risk factor for murder, with the highest percentage of alcohol positive cases being recorded in