Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - latest Issue
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Volume 29, Issue 3, 2016
Illicit drugs : local and International realities
Source: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 29, pp i –iii (2016)More LessThe first president (Nelson Mandela) of South Africa’s post-1994 democracy claimed that: “[y]oung people are often enticed by drug lords to become peddlers and consumers of illegal substances. We must help empower them to become part of the solution instead of the problem” (Drug Advisory Board, 1999: 1).
Almost eighteen years after this public commitment to empowering young people against using illegal drugs in South Africa illegal drug use has expanded to such an extent as to become an almost insurmountable challenge for government and civil society. This is clearly apparent from a number of sources. One such is the South African Depression and Anxiety Group, that claimed illegal drug consumption in South Africa is double the world norm (Steven, 2013: np) (see also Harmony Group, 2013: np). This has led to an increase in crime rates especially among poor unemployed South Africans. Van Loggerenberg (2012: 409-412), asserts that drugs are mostly used are either ‘uppers’1 (such as cocaine and methamphetamine), and ‘downers’2 (the opioid group including heroin) and the hallucinogens, i.e. the ‘all-rounders’3 (such as lysergic acid diethylamide or LSD) (classification according to Van Loggerenberg, 2012).
Author Palollo Michael LehloenyaSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 29, pp 1 –15 (2016)More Less
This article explores the growing problem of trade in and abuse of illicit drugs in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) within the context of an increasingly inter-connected and complex world. The article begins by looking into the origins of the different drugs that end up in the region and what makes SADC an attractive destination and transit point for illicit drugs. It also examines the existing international and regional agreements, as well as domestic legislation with a view to gauging the extent to which they are capable of successfully addressing the growing number of drug-related challenges. In this regard, the article argues that both the regional instruments and domestic legislation within SADC, which have been strongly influenced by the international regime, focus mostly on issues of concern to developed countries, such as criminalising activities associated with illicit drugs and apprehension of trafficking syndicate ringleaders. It maintains, however, that these instruments tend to neglect developmental and health-related issues induced by illicit drugs in their own countries. The article further argues that these instruments fail to provide appropriate guidance on the best way to address the drug problem. Globalisation and advances in technology have given rise to sophisticated global crime syndicates that have managed to establish illicit drug trading routes and complex money laundering schemes across the SADC region.
Source: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 29, pp 16 –48 (2016)More Less
This article is based on a study conducted to gain a better understanding of the drug trafficking phenomenon with specific reference to how South Africans are used as ‘drug mules’ in the cross-border smuggling of drugs. By means of media analysis, semi-structured interviews with drug trafficking and policing experts and a literature study the researchers were able to make findings and recommendations. The objectives of the study included examining how drug mules smuggle drugs across South African borders; what role drug mules play in drug trafficking syndicates and the motivations and reasons why South Africans are increasingly being recruited as drug mules. By making the deduction that drug demand and drug supply are interrelated the researchers were ultimately able to conclude that drug mules will continue to be recruited and engage in drug smuggling given the assumption that there is a demand for drugs and readily available drug supply routes to and from a country. From the media reports analysed it would appear that cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin are the drugs most smuggled by South African drug mules, with cocaine and methamphetamine being smuggled in the largest quantities (quantities of heroin found in the possession of detained South African drug mules were insignificantly small). Recommendations by the researchers focused on identifying specific vulnerabilities associated with drug mule recruiting and its consideration in legislation relating to drug trafficking in South Africa.
Corrupting influences: contrasting illegal substance users’ and police officers’ perspectives of each other in Cape Town, South AfricaSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 29, pp 49 –66 (2016)More Less
The legitimacy of the South African Police Service (SAPS) has been repeatedly brought into doubt, often as a result of well-documented acts of corruption. Officials have, with remarkable frequency, been implicated in a vast array of corrupt practices and activities, which have weakened policing in the country and rendered public compliance fragile. A lack of public trust and respect for the SAPS has not only caused many officers to lose their motivation in remaining steadfast in their roles, but also allowed for the formation of numerous illegal industries; including those related to illicit substances. While such commentary is widely found in the literature, the voices of those who are excluded or stigmatised, such as illegal substance (ab)users, are rarely heard – despite being very vulnerable to forms of police corruption. Nor, ironically, have the voices of police officers themselves been well documented. By drawing on data from two studies, conducted independently but interrelated, we compare and contrast these two cohorts’ views of each other. As we argue, troubling forms of behaviour are acknowledged by both parties, with both also viewing each other antagonistically. This, we further argue, has sustained systematic forms of violence which continue to undermine the legitimacy of the police in the country.
Source: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 29, pp 67 –84 (2016)More LessIn the Western Cape Province of South Africa, illicit drug trade, substance abuse and gangsterism continue to produce deleterious physical, emotional and psychological effects on residents in the Cape Flats,1 as well as contributing to high crime rates, violence, sexual abuse, injury, traffic accidents, and increasing dysfunctional family and community life. The preponderance of both governmental and private drug abuse clinics and counselling centres in the Western Cape, signals the seriousness of the problem in this locale. Yet the drug problem in the Western Cape is reported to be worsening and has led to substance abuse being regarded as a major health and social problem. In particular, of all patients seeking treatment for drug use, adolescents make up the highest percentage, and report an increasing consumption of methamphetamine (“tik”) as their main substance of abuse. This article derives from a qualitative study of a community in the Cape Flats. Rich data was elicited from three sources: viz. walkabouts and field note taking, observations (video), and semi-structured interviews with 13 members of the community in the Cape Flats. Underpinned by Social Disorganisation Theory (SDT) and General Strain Theory (GST), this article attempts to understand how the strains within the following two contexts impel illicit drug use in the Cape Flats, viz.: 1) the physical and social environment of a community; 2) family and interpersonal relationships.
Author Steven J. CollingsSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 29, pp 85 –98 (2016)More Less
The association between substance abuse and school-based violence was examined in a non-clinical sample of 752 South African school-going adolescents. Substance abuse was examined in relation to alcohol abuse and the use of illicit substances in the past 12 months, with four types of school-based violence being considered: physical assault, sexual assault, verbal abuse and property crime. With respect to the perpetration of school violence by males, both alcohol abuse and illicit substance abuse were found to be associated with all types of violence examined in the study; with comparative findings for females indicating no significant associations between substance abuse and school-based perpetration. With the notable exception that alcohol abuse was associated with poly-victimisation (i.e., ≥ two types of victimisation) among males, there were no significant associations between substance abuse and school-based victimisation for either males or females. These findings are discussed in terms of their implications for theory, further research, and violence prevention.
Author Ashwin DesaiSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 29, pp 99 –109 (2016)More Less
There are many aspects of any community’s collective life that are difficult to penetrate. Gangs are one of them. This is exacerbated when one is trying to interview gang members in the midst of violent conflicts fuelled by age-old feuds and the trade in illicit drugs. Police are on high alert and gang members particularly edgy. It helps if a researcher is already known in a community and has established networks. In the case of Wentworth, the author’s primary work, largely during 2015, has been to construct family histories concentrating on the question of racial identity. In the midst of this research, there was a burst of gang violence that resulted in two murders. Considerable time was spent talking, debating and interviewing gang members, relying on old style ethnographic fieldwork. The more information collected, the more Walter Benjamin’s idea of ‘destructive character’ was reflected upon. This article is typically full of nuance and subtlety which was used as a basis to understand the gang members’ sense of themselves, their mission and how they viewed their defence of ‘their’ turf. This latter aspect emerged time and again in many forms, with Wentworth seen as both a place of danger and place of refuge.
Author Bonita MarimuthuSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 29, pp 110 –125 (2016)More LessIllicit drug use can cause seemingly rational people to become irrational and violent. Although any type of addiction can trigger violence, those most likely to impair judgment, such as drug and alcohol addictions, are most often linked to addiction-related violence. Although numerous studies have shown that substance abuse does not cause domestic violence, other studies have shown that substance abuse and domestic violence often co-occur, and addiction can cause abuse to be more violent. This article highlights incidents of violence experienced by ten study participants. Data (qualitative in nature) was generated using in depth interviews with male and female participants who were either using illicit drugs or had been victims of violent behaviour perpetrated by illicit drug users. Findings from the study show that family members experience physical and emotional violence perpetrated by drug users, and family members of users are sometimes forced to use violence against the user as a survival mechanism. Furthermore, the community is at risk of violence and drug-related violence by those using drugs. Most importantly, the drug user sometimes engages in gang-related violence out of fear for his/her own life rather than being intrinsically motivated, such as a conventional criminal. The violence emanates both during the use of and attempts to obtain drugs. This research purports to fill an important gap in qualitative studies on interpersonal violence and illicit drug use which is highly lacking in South African research.
Drug abuse: an out of school adolescent’s survival mechanism in the context of a turbulent economic landscape – some Zimbabwean perspectivesSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 29, pp 126 –139 (2016)More Less
The aim of this article, can be summarised as the exploration of the Zimbabwean socio-economic dynamics as key drivers to the socio-pathological behaviour of drug abuse by youths. It unpacks the current Zimbabwean socio-economic landscape that have influenced the greater uptake of drugs and substances amongst adolescents. Zimbabwe’s per capita income in 2013 was a US$953 compared to US$981 in 1980 (Musewe, 2016: np). Life expectancy was 59-years of age in 1980 and was last measured at 49-years of age in 2010. Musewe (2016) further suggests that 80 percent of Zimbabwe’s population can be classified as poor with over 70 percent in the worst classification of being ‘absolutely poor’. The inability of economic growth to meet the needs of a ballooning urban population – which has 64 percent between the age of 18 and 35 and mostly unemployed – has given rise to a social pathology in which drug abuse has become a survival mechanism. Consequently, drug abuse pervasiveness is due to its status as an escape mechanism amongst both male and female out of school adolescents. The article relies on a desk review research methodology targeting different commissioned reports, newspaper articles and empirical research studies to explore the responses by various duty bearers, health and social welfare actors in this social pathological phenomena that has become embedded as a way of life in most Zimbabwean urban centres. Moreover, guided by Ungar’s moral panic theoretical framework, youths’ life worlds are explored by the article to analyse critical perspectives regarding pervasive Zimbabwean youth drug abuse. The article contends that social workers, as custodians of children in conflict with the law and youth offenders, are not proactive and robust enough to curb vices such as drug abuse and only compile reports for submission to courts when adolescents have committed drug induced offences. Again, youth centres located around the major urban and rural centres need to reflect and examine their methodologies with a view to roll out holistic guidance and counselling through edutainment approaches to youths so that they become familiar with the dangers of drug and substance abuse. Finally, pathways are offered on how best to involve youths in establishing an enabling environment to combat drug abuse in the context of economic instability. The article concludes by reflecting on possible approaches that can be applied by state and non-state actors, such as social workers in complementing their toolkit of tackling adolescents’ maladaptive behaviour.