n Institute for Security Studies Papers - The threat of gangs and anti-gangs policy : policy discussion paper

Volume 2005, Issue 116
  • ISSN : 1026-0404



For the past two years the South African government has pursued new tactics to fight gangs in the Western Cape. They include the promulgation of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, which criminalises gang membership, the creation of a dedicated gang court and the creation of a gang database to aid investigations and prosecutions. This paper provides a critical discussion of the conceptualisation of gangs that informs these new policies. It also raises concerns that the policies may not lead to a reduction in gang-related problems in the way that the authorities hope. The paper concludes by asking the fundamental question: do we need an anti-gang policy at all?

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