n Acta Criminologica : African Journal of Criminology & Victimology - South Africa's place in the global criminal economy

Special Edition 4
  • ISSN : 1012-8093


Given the important challenge of researching and debating effective policies to respond to issues of citizen safety in our society, it needs to be emphasised that researching crime, criminal justice, victims and perpetrators, as well as institutional responses, remains an important area of criminological and criminal justice study. Our overall objective, as a community of researchers and academics in South Africa, must be to produce a set of graduates willing and able to engage with the complex challenges that they will face in government, business or indeed working in academia or as researchers themselves. We need analysis, publications and debate therefore that focus, not only on policy but also on understanding and explaining the nature of our society. Too often we look elsewhere for quick fixes (often to the so-called 'North'), without engaging effectively with understanding the complex historical drivers of crime in South Africa. Given this, it was thought it might be appropriate in this article, stemming partly from an absence from South Africa for many years, to look at the country from the outside in. To try to assess what bigger changes in the global criminal economy and associated politics may mean for us in South Africa. That is partly in response to having worked for many years on United Nations (UN) and other bilateral programmes targeting a variety of illicit flows and the development of criminal networks in different countries. Perhaps one of the starkest conclusions to be drawn from that experience is that there has in fact been very little success in these endeavours. It is this question and its implications that will be explored, with reference to South Africa, in this article and, hopefully, will point to new approaches to research and widening the scope of what we might consider from a policy perspective.

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