South Africa's Apartheid regime focused the energies of its police force on countering its political opponents rather than tackling "conventional" crime. This, together with the appalling legacy of social dislocation among the urban poor which it bequeathed to the ANC administration, has contributed to a tripling in recorded crime in the late 1990s. Crime is now seen to pose a serious threat to the country's stability. This text aims to analyze the causes and possible solutions to this situation. It discusses the extent of crime, its victims and criminal justice system in South Africa, and reviews the options available to government if it is to restore the public's confidence in its ability to tackle growing lawlessness.
Crime trends 1980-97; the victims of crime; the nature and extent of organized crime; criminal justice under Apartheid; the South African police; the courts; the prison system; citizen responses; the privatization of criminal justice; policy options