Resolutions of ANC Peace and Security Summit
1 September 1996
- To call on the youth, especially from historically disadvantaged and with particular emphasis on those in institutions of higher learning, to take an interest in participating in the SANDF.
In this regard the ANC and community organisations have a responsibility to mobilise the youth for this purpose.
- Commend the Ministry of Defence for their sterling work in the field of transformation as evidenced and the Defence Review process currently underway. Such transformation entails, inter alia, changing the doctrine, norms, posture, ethics and composition of the SANDF.
In this regard:
- Programmes and mechanisms should be put in place to assist and empower members of former Non Statutory Force Members to adequately deal with challenges in their respective areas of endeavour.
- We note that these processes would necessarily be brought with difficulties of all sorts, and we accordingly urge former Non Statutory Force Members to remain in the service and help address the many challenges of transformation.
- Command structures of the SANDF must show due sensitivity with respect to honours and commemorations, and the ministry should work out regulations on this issue, in line with the new democratic society.
- Nothing that any Defence Force requires constant and timely renewal of equipment, we commend the consultative national Defence Review process and in line with principle contained therein, the ANC would support equipment acquisition programmes that are scientifically based and take into account competing national priorities and the position of the RSA in world affairs.
- We commend the appointment of Major General J. Sedibe to her current position as an important victory for transformation which includes gender sensitivities.
SAFETY AND SECURITY
The ANC Summit on Peace and Stability notes that:
- The building of a peaceful and stable democracy in South Africa is hampered by the excessive prevalence of guns both licensed and unlicensed in the hands of citizens.
- That this is a legacy of the conflict of the past and the lawlessness it engendered, as well as the lack of confidence in the state security services.
- And therefore resolves as part of the campaign to demilitarise South African Society.
- To campaign for strong action against perpetrators of violent crime.
- To publicly campaign against the carrying of weapons in public gatherings.
- To campaign to change South Africans attitudes to gun possession and to campaign against the culture which encourages children to glorify violence and ownership of guns.
- To ensure the speedy reclaiming of weapons distributed by the apartheid regime on a permit system such as G3’s.
- And to amend legislation to increase arms control by amongst other steps:
- outlaw the use of a gun by anyone other than the licence holder
- reduce the number of guns allowed per person and introduce a policy of one person, one licence, one gun
- close loopholes in law relating to guns distributors
- tighten up regulations regarding shooting range certification
- introduce an annual tax on licence
- introduce a minimum sentence for anyone convicted of carrying weapons at public gatherings.
- the ANC to initiate and lead the campaign against crime at National, Provincial and localities as a matter of urgency.
- Having noted the recent outcry about awaiting trial children who are being imprisoned, the Summit resolves:
- That the Correction Services Amendment Bill (1996), which provides for interim emergency measures for children who have committed serious crimes to be refered by magistrates to jail, when there are no suitable other facilities available, be supported in the interest of fighting crime and the general protection of our communities.
- That immediate steps be taken to ensure that those awaiting trial children who are under the age of 14, or who haven’t committed crimes contained in the Schedule of serious offences and who are currently imprisoned, be transferred from prisons immediately.
- Having noted the serious reports about corruption in prisons throughout South Africa:
- An independent national investigation be appointed into corruption in the Department of Correctional Services throughout South Africa.
- Those staff members who are found to be involved in corruption be dealt with harshly, and that charges be brought against them in acourt of law.
Nothing that the current unacceptably high levels of crime derive from the networks of the past, and particularly covert operations of the third force and,
- therefore that one of the critical challenges in dealing with the current levels of crime is to identify, expose and disband these networks,
- believes that the National Party has a political responsibility to disclose to the TRC and the Nation the Networks that existed under their rule and their current location.
- The ministry needs to steer through a proclamation to disband the SOB and implement an Interim board of about ten people who are completely out of the security industry.
- Then establish a Security Company Regulation and Transformation Task Team to examine the regulatory process which includes some security company reps and other stakeholders.
- Police, Defence Force and Intelligence regulations to prevent service members from joining private security or private investigator companies for a period of 5 years after leaving the state security service.
- The ministry to develop policy on formal relationship between SAPS and Security Companies.
Increased Budget for Criminal Justice Departments
- While our total budget for the criminal justice system on par with international standards, there is an urgent need to increase this amount to meet some of the following urgent priorities to increase our capacity to fight crime as outlined in the many proposals.
Special fund to fight crime
- Urgent consideration should be given to creating a mechanism to provide extra funding to the criminal justice system on a basis that is flexible enough to meet urgent needs. It is proposed that consideration be given to a special fund to fight crime which could be the vehicle for the general funding on the NCPS.
- Resources from this fund would be made available on the presentation of proper business plans and after prioritising needs. It should be ensured that it has a lean and effective administration. The fund could also be used to leverage contributions from non- government sources such as business for specific projects, especially around local initiatives.
- Consideration should given to depositing the proceeds from criminal assets confiscated in terms of the new Proceeds of Crime Bill into this fund.
Improved Co-ordination within ANC
- Co-ordination around crime in the ANC must be improved and regular (monthly) meetings should be held to follow up this summit and a joint national structure of relevant ministers and study groups should be established.
- Regular weekly briefings on the crime situation and the fight against crime, should be held.
The need to apply bail law properly
- It was noted that there has already been significant reform of the bail system which tightened it considerably but there is an urgent need to investigate the extent to which the law is applied effectively, and to ensure proper training for investigating officers, prosecutors and magistrates.
The need to make bail laws tougher
- A special category for serious offences for which bail would not be granted must be created. There should be some safeguards to ensure that there was at least an adequate case against the accused and that trials start within a reasonable time. This category may include e.g. persons charged with a second serious offence, those charge with using a firearm in an offence, sex offences against children, car hijackings and armed robbery.
- It should also be considered to give the state more time to prepare its case in other serious cases.
Improving the law to deal with Gang related crime
- The present laws before Parliament must be passed as a matter of urgency and the ANC should ensure that the necessary time is made available in Parliament to do this – even if the present session needs to be extended.
- Consideration should also be given to ways of criminalising the membership of gangs, e.g. by legislating more severe sentence for crimes committed as a member of a gang.
Ensuring sever sentences for serious crime
- Urgent consideration should be given strict minimum sentences for certain categories of serious crime. Although this had the effect of interfering with judicial discretion, the seriousness of the present situation justifies it as a deterrent. Such minimum sentences would have to be reviewed regularly.
- Consideration should also be given to a system of ensuring that those sentenced to long term imprisonment should not qualify for parole unless the matter has been referred to.
- Consideration should also be given to a broader national sentencing policy to ensure greater uniformity in sentences.
- Community input is such sentencing policy is vital, and the possibility of greater community input even in individual sentences should be considered.
Improving the protection of witnesses
- The new law extending the system of witness protection needs to be passed urgently.
- Interfering with witnesses should become a more serious offence. It should perhaps lead to the automatic revoking of bail and be an aggravating factor in sentencing.
Greater orientation to victims in the system
- It was felt that there is a strong public perception that the present system leans too much to the rights of perpetrators and does not strike the right balance with the right of victims. It was recognised that this is largely the result of the ineffectiveness of the present system. This is largely related to some of the rights in the Bill of Rights, and the Commission felt that it may even be necessary reconsider the balance between the rights of victims and perpetrators as reflected in the Bill of Rights.
- For example, greater use could be made of the inquisitorial system which would place some onus on the accused to answer questions relating.
- Active steps must be taken to create a more supportive environment for victims in court.
A more effective prosecution service
- There is an urgent need for more prosecutors to ensure that criminals are effectively prosecuted in the context of the new constitution which means that there are fewer guilty pleas and more defended accused in court.
- The salaries of prosecutors need to be increased urgently to ensure that trained and experienced prosecutors are retained.
- Specialised units should be set up to deal with gang and drug related crime. These should include police and prosecutors to ensure proper gathering of evidence and speedy preparation of cases.
- Consideration should be given to giving such units powers similar to OSEO, i.e. to subpoena witnesses and even to force them to answer self-incriminating evidence.
- Magistrates and judges should be relieved of their administrative and agency tasks to ease the burden on the courts and ensure more speedy prosecutions.
- Greater use must be made of specialised courts for priority crimes, e.g. the special rape courts in the Western Cape.
- Courts must be made more user friendly such as the Nelspruit court, especially for the victims of crime, and a general rights orientated culture must be promoted.
- The draft legislation setting up a anti corruption commission should be expedited and allegations of corruption in the administration of justice must be investigated urgently, especially relating to the disappearance of dockets.
The Death Sentence
- The NEC is requested to review the ANC’s position on the death penalty.