Radebe's vision of a caring justice system

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Cape Town - Minister of Justice Jeff Radebe says his department plans to conduct an annual survey of victims of crime in a bid to build a more effective and caring criminal justice system.

Briefing the media on Thursday about the government's plans for the justice, crime prevention and security cluster for this year, Radebe said while contact crimes had decreased over the years, some crimes such as hijacking had increased and since 1998 there had been a dramatic rise in the number of South Africans that felt that crime was rising.

Because of this, the independently conducted survey would look at the perception South Africans held of crime and whether they received sufficient assistance from authorities and the system, he said.

Radebe said his department would also establish three one-stop centres for victims of crime and violence while moving to improve the quality of support services rendered to those that fall victim to crime.

In addition, five more Thuthuzela Care Centres would be established in the 2010/2011 financial year, he said.

The centres fall under the National Prosecuting Authority's Sexual Offences and Community Affairs unit and offer support and counselling to rape victims.

The Department of Justice was also setting up a national register for sexual offenders.

Deputy Justice Minister Andries Nel said the first phase to put new convictions on the register had been completed, but pointed out that the department was battling to add previous convictions to the register, as the police database did not necessarily provide details of victims.

"We are working very closely and speedily with police to try and harmonise our database as part of the implementation of the criminal justice system," said Nel.