This is a book about gangs and organised crime on the Cape Flats. Some people may be disappointed that it does not contain more stories and anecdotes. However, the aim of the book is more theoretical. It attempts to describe popular assumptions regarding these terms in South Africa and in doing so it explores contested definitions, explanations and policy debates.
Before the mid 1990s, South Africa did not have a problem with organised crime. At least, it was not an issue that had been identified as being a serious threat to the country. Yet two years after the first general elections there was a steady growth in newspaper articles and academic publications all carrying the same message - since the ending of apartheid, crime had increased in South Africa and there had been a proliferation of sophisticated organised crime groups. By 2001, the then Minister for Safety and Security, the late Steve Tshwete, described how organised crime had “extended its tentacles into South Africa after the country’s return to the global arena”.1 Statistics on the scale of the threat were alarming. Some reported that the number of organised criminal groups operating in the country had risen to over 800 by 1998.
About the author:
Andre? Standing was a Senior Researcher at the Institute for Security Studies, Cape Town. Having studied and written on organised crime for the past six years, his new area of research looks at the exploitation of natural resources in Africa, with a particular focus on the impact of corruption and corporate crime.
This publication was made possible through the generous funding of the Open Society Foundation