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Masters Degrees (Criminology and Forensic Studies)

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    An exploratory study on the partnership between private security industry and the South African Police Services to combat crime in South Africa, Durban.
    (2022) Phakathi, Sinethemba.; Mbhele, Nkosingiphile Modeccai.; Mkhize, Sazelo Michael.
    Abstract available in PDF.
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    The silent victim: an explorative study on the nature of male sexual victimisation in Umlazi, KwaZulu-Natal.
    (2023) Zondo, Andiswa Naledi.; Sibisi, Nomakhosi Nomathemba.
    Abstract available in PDF.
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    A criminological analysis of the commission of cybercrime in the South African banking industry: a case study of cybercrime in banks in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.
    (2022) Pillay, Perushka.; Ntuli, Precious Nolwazi.
    As expenditures in broadband infrastructure in developing countries have increased and barriers to internet access have decreased, this infrastructure has rapidly become a target for cybercrime. Developing countries such as South Africa, Kenya, and India have become the preferred destination for cybercriminals owing to their lack of cyber regulations and the prevalence of cybercrime illiteracy. Cybercrime has plagued numerous sectors in the South African landscape, one of which is the banking industry. This industry has experienced multiple types of cybercrime such as phishing, vishing, spams, identity theft, hacking, and malware. As all banks now rely on digital networks for their business operations, the risk of becoming a cybercrime victim has increased for both the banking industry and its clients. The focus of this study was to establish and analyse the causes of the increased rate of cybercrime in banks and to determine the effectiveness of legislation in addressing the threat posed by cybercrime to the banking industry. The study explored selected South African Police Service (SAPS) detectives’ experiences regarding cybercrime and ascertained these detectives’ views on factors that contribute to cybercrime within the banking industry. The researcher utilised a qualitative methodology as this approach allowed the elicitation of the view of various participants. The study could therefore focus on actual issues associated with cybercrime rather than on statistical significance. Ten detectives who investigated cybercrime in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal were interviewed and some intriguing findings concerning cybercrime were uncovered. The study revealed the prevalence of internal fraud within the banking industry, poor internal controls, ineffective processes and systems, banking clients’ lack of knowledge and awareness of the looming threat of cybercrime, low conviction rates for cybercriminals; and SAPS officials’ lack of skills in policing cybercrime in KwaZulu- Natal as some of the key factors that exacerbate cybercriminal activities in the banking industry. Based on the transnational character of cybercrime, it had been concluded that majority of the banks in South Africa and many other countries are under threat of cybercrime, and therefore they need to coordinate and implement a unified effort to tackle the growing threat of cybercriminal activities in the banking industry.
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    A systematic review of domestic violence impact on children during the Covid-19 lockdown in South Africa.
    (2022) Govender, Keemera.; Singh, Shanta Balgobind.
    This research is relevant to the examination of the impact of domestic violence on children during the COVID-19 lockdown, which is a public health concern. Domestic violence has been prevalent in South Africa before the COVID-19 lockdown. However, with the onset of COVID-19 and the lockdown measures that were implemented, the rate of domestic violence has increased, drastically. Domestic violence is not a new phenomenon as previous research has been done in this area, however, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic meant that more research questions needed to be unpacked. The Routine Activity Theory and the Situational Action Theory were used to understand the Dynamics of domestic violence on children. The stress of the pandemic impacted everyone as people were confined to their homes, which meant that there were changes in one’s routines and situations. Parents had to work from home and children had to learn at home. In essence, this modus operandi led to the victimisation of children as victims and perpetrators shared the same spaces. The pragmatic paradigm constituted the best fit in answering the key research questions. The convergent mixed-methods approach was used in to explore the cause-and-effect of domestic violence on children during the COVID-19 lockdown. The data were selected through the collection of secondary data through a systematic review. For the review to be done secondary data was collected, analysed, and then merged to provide results. The qualitative notational approach was incorporated as the qualitative data contributed to the majority of the study, while the quantitative data only contributed minute amounts to the overall study. This research was very complex therefore both qualitative and quantitative data had to be collected because a single approach data collection would limit the understanding of the research problem. The research design was selected based on the paradigm that was used in this study. The concurrent triangulation research design was employed as the collected data were merged to address each research objective. The non-probability, purposive sample technique was implemented to select research material as data needed to be selected based on relevance and ‘purpose’. The overall image that emerged from existing literature has evidence about how domestic violence impact children. From the respective vantage points of the various researchers, there were many inferences made regarding this topic. Particularly, there has been definite research indicating that the lockdown posed the risk of domestic violence on children and that domestic violence does impact children during the COVID-19 lockdown period either mentally, physically, or biologically. This has led to many challenges in children’s lives. No South African legislation specifically protects children from domestic violence, however other legislative acts can be adapted to protect children from abuse. Many services that protect children from domestic violence abuse in South Africa are not prioritised, therefore the services have declined. The result of the COVID-19 lockdown has seen increasing numbers with regards to domestic violence in South Africa. However, the extent of the domestic violence cases has not been reported accurately. Therefore, the data cannot be reliable. The study provides insightful effective strategies that can be used to help South Africa and other countries to advance the research practice, as well as to help end domestic violence even when not in a pandemic situation. The disruptive impact of domestic violence affects everyone as many countries are fighting through the COVID-19 pandemic. The lockdown caused irreversible effects on a child that became a victim of domestic violence as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. From the data gathered, domestic violence against children generates negative emotions for them. To protect children, there must be a collaborative approach to mitigate the issue of domestic violence against children. Effective strategies are discussed in this study to help victims of domestic violence. The overview of the study focused on understanding the risks associated with the COVID-19 lockdown, as social isolation had been seen to cause and impact children during the lockdown.
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    An explorative study of environmental design and crime: a case study of Merebank, Durban.
    (2021) Naicker, Tyla.; Sibisi, Nomakhosi Nomathemba.
    Despite the lapse of twenty-seven years since the abolishment of apartheid in South Africa, the effects of segregationist policies on the demarcation of residential areas based on race and the associated design of built environments have endured. History-based conversations regarding inadequately designed built environments have generated the debate as to whether these environments have the potential to contribute to crime causation. Therefore, this research aimed to investigate the impact of apartheid-generated environmental design on crime causation in the residential area of Merebank in Durban, South Africa. As Merebank is regarded as a previously disadvantaged area that was developed under the apartheid regime, this community was deemed appropriate for an investigation to achieve the aim of this study. A review of related literature indicated that property crimes correlate with disorderly built environments where crime prevention strategies are seldom considered or employed. The study was thus motivated by frequently reported incidences of property crime that affected the residents of Merebank. In alignment with this goal, this study explored the Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) model to reduce and prevent crime, whilst perceptions of fear of crime were also investigated among community members. To ensure that the goals of this study would be achieved, a qualitative interpretive methodological approach was adopted. The main data collection instrument was semi-structured interviews that were conducted with 15 lifelong residents of Merebank. The majority of these people had resided in the community throughout the apartheid era and beyond. The participants were selected by means of purposive sampling and thematic data analysis was performed. It was found that crime causation in Merebank was perpetuated by apartheid zoning and the existence of an inadequately designed built environment. The main finding of this study surprisingly indicated that residents of Merebank had felt safer in this area during the apartheid era. This was attributed to the control that was imposed upon the movement of citizens as a result of the implementation of the Group Areas Act1 No. 41 of 1950 (Parliament of South Africa, 1950). Moreover, current-day crime prevention was largely attributed to private security companies and not to the South African Police Service, whereas social cohesion varied amongst Merebank neighbourhoods. CPTED was barely understood and thus rarely utilised by members of the community, while their prevalent fear of crime and perceptions of criminal activities were perpetuated as a result of the inadequately designed built environment and, more particularly, the zoning of this residential area based on race in the apartheid era.
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    An exploratory study on ukuthwala and crime: a perspective of inqaba kamvelinqangi cultural organization.
    (2021) Hlophe, Phindile.; Mkhize, Sazelo Michael.
    Ukuthwala evokes emotive responses, with those who either support or oppose the practice. Ukuthwala has also resulted in public debate due to abductions which are viewed as against the young women's consent, but not much has been done to investigate the practice of ukuthwala among the Zulus of KwaZulu Natal (KZN) in post-1994 South Africa. Therefore, this study investigates the original or real meaning of the culture of ukuthwala in the Zulu and it linkage to crime. The study is motivated by the misunderstandings or misinterpretations people have about the culture of ukuthwala. It has been labeled as abusive and as a crime by certain scholars while it is just a cultural practice that was meant to solve a problem between a young man and a young woman who were in a love relationship and intended to marry, but were faced with obstacles to realize their dream (Nyembezi & Nxumalo, 1995). It is a qualitative study. This study highlights the ongoing debate as to whether ukuthwala may be practiced as a means to open up the marriage negotiation process, and concludes that both men and women understand ukuthwala as a Zulu custom which opens up marriage negotiation process. Accordingly, ukuthwala in this traditional form is understood as not violating the rights of young women and children. This study encountered the challenge that the South African laws fail to ensure that the abuse of the culture of ukuthwala is firstly eradicated and secondly that there are criminal sanctions for the violation. Ukuthwala is a Zulu custom that opens up a space for women’s agency where they can decide to marry a man they choose and end the relationship they do not want. In this way the women are able to command the men whom they love, and who have resources and therefore are also powerful to act in a way the woman wants with regard to initiating negotiations for the marriage. However, it can also be viewed as a Zulu custom carried out by powerful men who have resources and therefore can pay ilobolo (bride wealth), as a power display directed at other men who happen to be their competitors. The study also conceives of ukuthwala as a cultural practice, and as a social construction that is gendered; it adopts zero tolerance to the abduction of young women. The study suggests that if all stakeholders work together through the process of collaboration, interventions are possible and criminals can be sanctioned. The study recommends further research of issues pertaining to culture, sex, sexuality, gender, masculinities and ukuthwala, in order to support an intervention into the socialization of boys, to help them in making informed decisions before engaging in ukuthwala.
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    Investigating Nigerian foreign nationals’ experiences of violence, safety and security on 'Point Road', Durban, South Africa.
    (2022) Ikyoive, Joseph Tertsea.; Gopal, Nirmala Devi.
    The purpose of the study was to explore the experiences of Nigerian foreign nationals on inter- ethnic violence, safety, and security on Point Road in the Durban area of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The study intended to understand the nuances of Nigerian foreign nationals in Durban and how it provides a catalyst for violent confrontations subsequently undermining their rights to a safe climate. Added to this, the study intended to understand factors that create conditions for inter-ethnic rivalry and violence between Nigerian foreign nationals. The study was located appropriately within the interpretive paradigm that views reality as subjective and built from an individual’s lived experiences. Besides, the case study as a research method was used to understand the experiences of participants for the study. The researcher generated data for the study using semi-structured interviews from 10 participants. The interview process was done through tape recordings and the data analyzed using the thematic method of analysis. Using Pierre Bourdieu’s Theory of Practice and Merton’s Strain theory, the generated data show that nuances between Nigerians through ethnicity instigate various forms of violence. Data also showed that Nigerian foreign nationals involved in altercations often take advantage of the economic vulnerability of South African street urchins commonly referred to as “izigebengu” or “Paras” who accept small amounts of money to carry out most of the violent confrontations. The data also showed that, the lack of response and the discriminatory attitudes posed by law enforcement officers in attending to the internal safety and security of Nigerian foreign nationals’ act against international humanitarian best practices and lends credence to other prevailing odds such as under-reported violent experiences. The study recommended that further research can be done to explore and understand how Nigerian foreign nationals’ victims of violent attacks cope with the situation of insecurity they encounter in their daily lives, including the recovery of their goods or property damaged if not stolen throughout the attacks. Whether they orchestrate these attacks, the government and different stakeholders must come together and implement policies that render security at the primary site of the study and deter potential attackers from committing similar or the same inhuman activities.
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    An investigation of water meter tampering and illegal pipping connections: case study of Folweni, KwaZulu-Natal.
    (2021) Ngcobo, Nompumelelo.; Sibisi, Nomakhosi Nomathemba.
    Much has been learned about saving water due to the ongoing issue of water scarcity that many South African townships experience. However, limited research has been conducted to identify the core factors that contribute to water shortages. This study focused on illegal water connections and water meter tampering (referred to as water theft) as core factors that lead to water shortages, with specific reference to a township context. The goal of this study was to evaluate the causes of water theft and the effectiveness of existing strategies to combat this crime. It is vital to note that water theft is a global issue that has a negative effect not only on human lives but also on the economy. Water theft has a negative impact on the smooth running of water distribution networks and places undue pressure on municipal and government revenue. The objectives of the study were to: (i) assess the nature and extent of water inaccessibility in Folweni Township in the Durban area; (ii) determine the causes of water theft in this township; (iii) explore the effects of water theft on the community and the eThekwini Municipality; and (iv) assess measures and strategies that may be effective in curbing water theft in the study area. The study was informed by Shaw and Mckay’s (1942) social disorganisation theory, Merton’s (1938) strain theory, and Beccaria’s (1967) rational choice theory. The field work was conducted in Folweni Township that falls under the eThekwini Municipality in the larger Durban area in the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province. This study area was selected because it experienced a high number of water theft cases and severe water supply interruptions. Telephonic semi-structured interviews using open-ended questions were used as the data collection instrument. The findings of this study suggest that the causes of water theft are unemployment, ineffective communication between the community and the municipality, and a lack of social control by law enforcement agencies. Furthermore, the findings revealed that water supply interruptions lasted up to a month without any reports issued by the municipality to inform the community of the nature of the problem experienced. The study further determined that illegal water connections and water meter tempering had become an acceptable norm in this community and that no strategies had been put into place to curb this crime. Participants argued that the municipality introduced only inconsistent mechanisms to deal with water theft and that residents were expected to use these to cope with water shortages.
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    The effectiveness of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate in investigating Section 28 (1)(B) death as a result of police action and Section 28 (1)(G) police corruption in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
    (2021) Mbhele, Asanda.; Maweni, Vuyelwa Kemiso.; Hadebe, Philisiwe Nicole.
    Background: South Africa’s transition to a democracy brought with it a holistic accountability system geared towards aligning the South African Police with democratic principles. This study focuses on one component of this accountability system, the Independent Police Investigative Directive (IPID) which is responsible for the police misconduct and in ensuring accountability from the crimes committed by the police officers in SA. The aim of this study is to examine whether the IPID is an effective oversight mechanism in terms of ensuring accountability on the part of the South African Police Services (SAPS). It examines, in particular, the IPID’s mandate to investigate corruption matters and deaths that result from police action within the SAPS, and to determine whether, in its current form and capacity, it is effectively fulfilling its mandate. Methods: The study adopted a qualitative research approach. Data were collected from ten (n=10) IPID investigating officers who are responsible for the investigation of Section 28 (b) and (g) of the IPID mandate in KwaZulu-Natal. The sample was obtained using purposive sampling. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted and recorded with a voice recorder. The data were analysed through thematic analysis. Findings: The findings of the study revealed that the willingness of the public to offer bribes to the police officers results in low conviction rates. It was also revealed that greediness plays a major role in contributing to police corruption. The killings of suspects and innocent bystanders was also viewed as a major problem in the KZN province. The participant’s revealed that the killings of police officers during their execution of their duties is the main factor that contributes to the killings of people. The study also discovered that various challenges, such as a lack of evidence from complainants, a lack of police cooperation, a lack of complainants' cooperation in the investigation, and a lack of resources and manpower within the IPID, contribute to the low conviction rates of police corruption and death as a result of police action. As a consequence of the data, it appears that police corruption and death as a result of police action investigation tactics are inefficient owing to investigative challenges. Keywords: Police officer, South African Police Service, Independent Police Investigative Directorate, Accountability, Conviction, Police Corruption, Death as a result of police action, Complainant, Suspect
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    An investigative study of the policing of identity theft and fraud: a case of the Durban South African Police Services Serious Commercial Crime Unit.
    (2021) Kheswa, Fudumezile Lindokuhle.; Ngubane, Londeka Princess.
    The line between reality and unreality is blurred and, in a postmodern and technologically driven world, it is difficult to tell the real from those things that simulate the real. Extrapolating past events to solve current problems becomes highly risky and often misleading because the strategies employed might not support technological advancement. Against this background, it seems that identity theft and fraud, as separate but also related crimes, are disregarded when criminal phenomena are examined and prioritised. The dangers and disadvantages of this result in little or no fast-tracked plan of action against identity (or ID) theft and fraud. However, it is of great importance to examine ID theft and fraud in depth because of the sophisticated and imminent danger they bring to bear on society. Moreover, these crimes have infamous appeal and their perpetration by criminals worldwide is high due to the unlikelihood of detection. With criminals becoming increasingly adept at both cyberspace and more traditional methods of identity theft perpetration, the criminal justice arena is seen as becoming unequipped and lacking in the ability to keep pace with this form of criminality. The false and misguided belief that only the negligent and careless fall victim to identity theft and fraud should be shifted and the focus should fall on the development of effective and practical solutions to deter and possibly eradicate identity theft and fraud. It is thus pivotal to explore current processes that drive identity theft and fraud crimes to allow law enforcement to manoeuvre effectively towards deterring these criminal acts. Understanding the tactics and regulatory procedures utilised by law enforcement agencies against identity theft and fraud, and the gaps that might exacerbate these phenomena, is therefore vital in addressing this scourge. Additionally, by comparing and understanding the reasons for current statistics to explain the escalation in these crimes, law enforcement will be able to move towards the design and implementation of new strategies to curb them. The study argues that identity theft and fraud should not be crimes that commercial banks, social media platforms, and internet-based companies are oblivious too. Identity theft exists. It is constantly evolving and causes harm to an increasingly larger group of people, often the elderly, within society. However, the evolution of technology impacts and encourages perpetrators of such criminal behaviour to be more eventful and creative in their approach and modus operandi and enhances their ability to escape and thrive undetected. The extent of the harm and damage identity theft and fraud cause individuals, families, companies and the government means that their prevalence should never be overlooked or underestimated. The study sought to investigate the policing of identity theft and fraud in the Durban area in KwaZulu-Natal. My examination of these phenomena was not limited to a specific type of identity theft but was all encompassing. The geographical demarcation of the study was restricted to the South African Police Services Serious Commercial Crime Unit (SAPS SCCU), John Ross House, Durban. The goal was to solicit information pertaining to the strategies utilised by law enforcement agencies, particularly the SAPS, to police and deter identity theft and fraud. This was pivotal in light of the rising figures in identity theft and fraud and the lack of research on policing and deterring these criminal phenomena. As one of its main objectives, the study sought to understand the discrepancy between the recorded figures of ID theft and fraud and their actual rates of occurrence. This qualitative study made use of open-ended semi-structured interviews for the elicitation of data to achieve this objective. The study found that various types of identity theft and fraud were perpetrated by syndicates using varying modus operandi, with particular focus on technologically advanced methodologies. What appeared disconcerting was a lack in the ability of law enforcement to keep pace with criminal tactics and the modus operandi utilised by perpetrators that lead to the widespread occurrence of these crime forms. The SAPS SCCU is the only unit that is mandated to investigate commercial crime in KZN, and its success rate, according to the investigating officers, is average to high. However, the capacity of this unit to cope with the workload is somewhat limited due to its geographical jurisdiction that encompasses the whole of the KZN Province. Recommendations are offered in response to the data and the challenges that are associated with the processes of policing identity theft and fraud.
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    Exploring perceptions of South African Police Service investigators and National Prosecuting Authority prosecutors on personal income tax fraud in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.
    (2017) Shandu, Smangele Nkosingiphile.; Steyn, Jéan.
    It is common knowledge that many people in South Africa perceive income tax as being unavoidable, as all natural and artificial persons in South Africa are liable to pay taxes. One of the biggest sources of revenue for the South African government to render adequate services to the public is income tax. However, tax fraud is detrimental and results in poor service delivery to the public. A shadow economy becomes noticeable when individuals defraud the South African Revenue Service (SARS), which has a negative impact on South Africa’s economic development and sustainability. The most common form of fraud against the government is tax fraud, which mainly occurs when taxpayers do not pay their taxes or find illegal ways to avoid paying outstanding taxes. The commission of this crime involves underreporting income and submitting falsified documents to SARS with the intention of not paying tax. Moreover, people who pretend to be tax practitioners that are attached to SARS defraud this department by using unwitting taxpayers as a shield. In some cases, employed SARS tax practitioners conspire with taxpayers to defraud SARS. This qualitative study applied an exploratory, descriptive research design with the aim of exploring and describing the perceptions of selected members of the Durban SAPS DPCI and the NPA DPP STU on personal income tax fraud in Durban. The targeted sample that was used in this study comprised five SAPS investigators who were engaged in in-depth interviews. These participants were generally employed to investigate personal income tax fraud. Moreover, eight NPA DPP STU officials (Senior State Advocates and State Prosecutors) from Durban were engaged in key informant interviews (KIIs). Overall, thirteen participants were sampled purposively by selecting individuals who would possess rich information on the topic under investigation. Participants with vast experience in investigating the scourge of tax evasion were therefore selected. The data collection methods involved in-depth individual semi-structured interviews, and a review of related documents and literature. The interviews were transcribed and the data were interpreted by using codes or categories of themes that followed chronologically. This study suggests that syndicates that defraud SARS use E-filing as a predominant method of tax avoidance. This system seems to allow defrauders to falsify the information that is provided by the applicant, and it appears that such taxpayers collude with tax consultants, personnel attached to SARS, and other knowledgeable private individuals. Poor individuals are also prone to committing this crime, or are unwittingly manipulated to do so, particularly because their lack of knowledge regarding tax associated processes exposes them to dangerous syndicates who take advantage of their ignorance. This study found that the relationship between the SAPS DPCI, NPA DPP STU and SARS in Durban was in its infancy. It is suggested this relationship be healed and extended as a matter of urgency. Moreover, the justice system does not appear to help to bring tax criminals to heel as it does not give sentences that deter tax fraud crime. A recommendation that is offered is that the SAPS DPCI in Durban should call for the improvement of SARS E-filing system to detect falsified information by tracing the history of, applicants. Investigators should closely look at current trends to improve present investigation techniques. SARS in Durban should also stage internal investigations to monitor the claims made before tax returns are paid out.
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    An exploration of the roles of traditional courts in combating crime: a study of the Maphumulo traditional tribe, Stanger.
    (2020) Jili, Snethemba Hopefull Fundiswa.; Singh, Shanta Balgobind.
    The restorative justice system has existed among nations across the world for centuries. It is argued that this form of justice draws on the wisdom of indigenous cultures for restorative and not punitive justice. To recognise and promote restorative forms of justice, many countries have developed protocols, standards, and ethical procedures for practitioners of restorative justice. One such tool is indigenous or tribal courts. South Africa is amongst those countries that acknowledge restorative justice as its indigenous people have been using traditional systems as a tool to manage crime for a very long time. African restorative justice is embedded in African norms, values and beliefs that provide society with normative but often unwritten outlines for maintaining social peace, resolve conflict, and combat crime. However, the arrival of colonialism and apartheid in South Africa disrupted most Africans’ political, economic, cultural, and social lives. Fortunately, the traditional justice system has survived as it still exists and thrives in resolving disputes and managing crime in some parts of South Africa, especially in rural areas. However, because South Africa is a democratic country that has been steered by a human rights-based Constitution for more than two decades, this study was conducted to address the question whether rural communities have unrestricted access to the formal justice system, or whether they are effectively served by a tribal justice system. This was done against background evidence that the formal justice system has been unable to reach and serve all the inhabitants of this country, and that rural people in particular would then seek legal support and restitution by approaching the traditional justice system. The overarching aim of the study was thus to investigate the role of alternative justice measures in combating crime in a rural area. The study objectives were to: (i) explore the laws and procedures applied by a traditional court to address crime; (ii) to determine whether these laws and procedures were in line with the South African Constitution; and (iii) to ascertain the effectiveness of the traditional court to combat crime in the area under study. The study adopted an exploratory and descriptive research design, and the qualitative research approach was used to obtain the required information. The study findings revealed that, more than two decades into democracy, many residents in this rural area experienced frustrating challenges when they wished to access the formal justice system. It was mainly for this reason that the participants admitted that they relied almost exclusively on the traditional justice system as their only effective and available channel to seek restitution for legal matters and injustices. This study concluded that the role played by the traditional justice system in the rural area under study bridged the gap between rural residents and the formal justice system. Therefore, although this informal justice system was undeniably plagued by shortcomings such a gender-based approach that seemed to favour the voice of men and marginalise that of women, it was concluded that this traditional court was effective in combating acts of crime that might otherwise have escalated into serious threats against justice and the peaceful coexistence of the affected community.
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    Public transit and crime. An exploratory study on commuter’s perceptions of crime in Metrorail trains: a case study of Durban station.
    (2021) Nxele, Nokulunga.; Ngubane, Londeka Princess.
    Rail transport is regarded as the cheapest mode of on-land transport for commuters who need to travel to and from work or school. It has distinctive characteristics that, over the years, have made it popular as a cost-effective mode of transport that accommodates a high number of people and reduces road congestion. It is an undeniable fact that railway transport has played an important role in many countries’ social and economic development. However, generally tolerant rail commuters in the city of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, have become increasingly frustrated at the declining quality of rail service delivery. This is evidenced by recent incidents of angry commuters who burnt trains due to failed rail assets, particularly in the Western Cape. These acts have been contemplated as a commuter strategy to enforce and guarantee service improvement by the operator, regardless of the negative effects they have on rail infrastructure and the economic wellbeing of the country as a whole. In terms of Metrorail services, the inconsistency between commuters’ expectations and management’s understanding of their expectations has exacerbated the perception of poor service quality. The rail commuter industry has been plagued by a history of poor service delivery due to inaccessibility, crowding, and poor security as the main reasons for dissatisfaction with railway services. In terms of the unreliability of Metrorail services, research has revealed that trains are rarely on time and tend to stop in the middle of nowhere without notice. This has prompted late arrivals at work and the possibility of job losses for commuters. Moreover, such delays and stoppages lead to train overcrowding and safety risks. As everyone’s main goal is get inside that train as soon as it arrives, getting inside could mean shoving, climbing on top of the train, or hanging from doors or windows. The lack of measures to curb such behaviour highlights the fact that commuters are treated with disdain and that nothing is done to reduce overcrowding and the unreliability of Metrorail services. Moreover, there has been a growing concern about crime becoming a major issue for law-abiding commuters. Both major crimes such as acts of violence, murder or robbery and minor crimes such as pick-pocketing occur regularly on trains or at stations. Due to ever-changing pattern within the transport sector, crime has succeeded into instilling fear in commuters. As a result, it has become a serious problem in South Africa that does not only have a negative effect on commuters, but on the economy of the country as well. Public transport networks provide a number of unique settings (places and times) across which crime and disorder can occur. These spaces include train stations and inside trains where there is no security. It was against this background that an extensive literature review was embarked on and individual interviews were conducted with 20 commuters that had been recruited at a selected train station in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. The prime aim of the study was to explore commuters’ perceptions of crime on Metrorail trains. It was anticipated that interviewing commuters who relied on Metrorail services as their main mode of transport would elicit in-depth insight into the issue at hand. A qualitative study design was employed to collect data by conducting semi-structured interviews. Open-ended questions that allowed the participants to share their experiences openly without being limited in any way were asked in the interview schedule. A thematic analysis process was used to make sense of the data from the various themes that emerged. To understand the criminological phenomenon under study, two significant theories were utilised to underpin this study namely, the routine activities theory and the crime pattern theory. The findings suggest that a lack of patrol officers on trains and at train stations, as well as the high level of overcrowding on trains, are contributing factors towards the high crime rates in this industry. The data that were collected from the interviews were substantiated by the findings of earlier studies that suggested that, due to affordability, more people were using railway transport currently than in the past. However, as the number of commuters increased, so did crime. The findings further propose that the ineffectiveness of policies and legislations that are in place to curb crime in the railway sector calls for a revitalisation of the purpose to provide safe, secure and reliable Metrorail services to commuters.
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    Criminological analysis on mechanisms used to control shoplifting in Durban Central Business District.
    (2020) Singini, Olipa Josophine.; Singh, Shanta Balgobind.
    The act of taking consumer items from retail stores is deemed as punishable criminal offence. To date, there are high levels of consumer goods theft. Shoplifting can be dangerous in nature due to psychical alteration upon apprehension of the criminal, should they resist security. Physical alteration is not the only cause for concern, retail shrinkage and job loss due to bankruptcy can occur in cases of severe shoplifting. As a result, communities suffer the consequences of economic and social micro-levels. This study intended to identify the motivations behind shoplifting in Durban Central Business District by focusing on the victimization of the retail store and the store chosen prevention measures. This was a deliberate attempt to uncover whether retail stores and the communities are aware of such dangers. The Criminal Justice System and security department of the store are aware of such and have a number of preventative measures against shoplifting, in place. This study analysed shoplifting and the store prevention measures in Durban Central Business District. The main objective of the study was to analyse the impact of shoplifting within the Durban Central Business District. Whilst identifying the mechanisms that have been put into place to combat shoplifting in food and clothing retail stores, furthermore, assessing the effectiveness of these mechanisms within the retail stores are in curbing the high levels of shoplifting. Making sure to identify legislations used by the specific retail store in order to prevent shoplifting. In order to achieve this, a qualitative approach was used, in conjunction to convenient sampling and purpose sampling methods. Semi-structured Interviews where conducted on participants that were purposively selected. The data was then analysed thematically. Main findings of this study revealed that the issue of shoplifting in the DCBD was a geographical issue in accordance with the crime pattern theory, as well as gender based, were shops with female guards or female staff experienced higher levels of shoplifting than male staffed stores. Findings also highlighted that most crimes occurred when there were high volumes of traffic, the shops closer to the main network of people interaction. The Workshop Mall experienced more cases of shoplifting than the shops furthest away as it is not as crowed. The issue of shop theft is a great challenge to combat within the police and retail system, as a respondent confirmed that shoplifting is now a part of their everyday lives. The study revealed that shops have become accustomed to being victimized by offenders and have in place their own regulations and security measure. Other shops acknowledged the effectiveness of measures, whilst others denied any security measures in curbing shoplifting. Based on this study’s findings, the researcher recommends that SAPS needs to be visible in patrol areas around town to ensure that shoplifters are aware that a law enforcement official is on patrol. Police further ensure that they are highly responsive when a crime is reported. Retail businesses spend large sums of money on security measures to combat theft, therefore it is unfortunate when a criminal is released from police custody without any charges as shoplifters continue to steal. Also, organisations such as community safety, SAPS and retail stores should formulate programs that are aimed towards de-normalising the act of shoplifting in the Durban Central Business District and across other communities. Only the authority can safe guard a business by working together with it, which is one of the responsibility of a Criminal Justice System. A more severe punishment of five years from the judiciary system must be enforced, the reason stores keep being victimized is because a fine and a few months in jail is the only available punishment system in place. Furthermore, offenders tend to work in groups or a pair therefore constant inventory should be done in the retail stores the moment a crowd walks in, vigilance on the employees stuff and 3 months training programmes must be given.
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    An analysis of occupational stress amongst South African Police Services detectives working on murder cases: a case study of Inanda Police Station.
    (2019) Sibisi, Nonhle Tracey.; Singh, Shanta Balgobind.; Murhula, Bashizi Bashige.
    Background: Assistance to employees to maintain a work-life balance has been increasingly recognised as a goal for law enforcement agencies around the world, especially during the last decade. The intense and continuous physical and emotional work demands generate stressors in organisations and employees’ lives. While stress is unavoidable, occupational stressors should be limited and support structures should be effective in equipping workers with coping mechanisms. Policing remains a profession with high exposure to incidents that can trigger stress. The purpose of this study was to analyse occupational stress amongst South African Police Service detectives responding to murder cases. Methods: The study adopted a qualitative research approach. Data were collected from eight (n=8) murder detectives in the South African Police Service and 2 employees from the Employee, Health and Wellbeing services. Eight (8) murder detectives were located at Inanda Police Station, in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal and employee health and well-ness practitioners interviewed. The sample was obtained using purposive sampling. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted and recorded with a voice recorder. The data were analysed through thematic analysis. Findings: The study found that nature of stress among detectives depends on their work tasks such as exposure to traumatic crime scenes and a high workload. The factors that contribute to occupational stress in murder detectives in Inanda were found to be inherent in the nature of their job (high workload), organisation (career development, lack of resources and lack of effective coordination within the SAPS) and community (demographics of the community and lack of cooperation from the community), resulting in such challenges as psychological, cognitive, emotional and behavioural challenges. Most detectives do not consider the available support structures as being effective due to the unavailability of employee, health and well-ness practitioners and lack of time to utilise support services. Implications: Based on the findings, it is recommended that employee health and wellness practitioners should improve their marketing strategies in order for detectives to be aware of their support services. It is also important for employee health and wellness practitioners to understand the daily activities of detectives and formulate programmes that will be effective and accessible to them.
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    An exploration of police killings in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.
    (2019) Noxhaka, Nomasiza.; Singh, Shanta Balgobind.
    This research aimed to explore police killings in selected areas (Kwamakhutha, Amanzimtoti, Durban central and Point police station) in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa. The motivation for the study was to generate in-depth understanding of police killings by eliciting detailed, authentic data from selected interviewed participants. It is envisaged that the findings, after appropriate dissemination, will enable the South African Police Services to understand the conditions of such in order to devise preventive strategies to curb the killing of police officials, whether they are on or off duty. The information on police killings should provide the management of the South African Police Service (SAPS) with a better and more holistic understanding of situations where police officials are at risk. In ensuring that the goals of this study would be achieved, a qualitative approach was used that assisted the researcher to focus on conditions that instigate police killings while they are on duty and executing their duties, or when they are off duty. The causes of police killings during these conditions were thus analyzed and the effects of this constant threat under which they live were explored. A set of pre-determined questions enabled the researcher to generate data in order to explore particular themes that emerged from the participants’ responses. To analyse data, the Thematic Analysis (TA) method was utilized. The interviews were voice recorded and transcribed. The researcher then familiarized herself with the data for in-depth and perceptive analyses. In this process, common threads that occurred in the various responses allowed patterns to emerge that elucidated common causes for the killing of police officers as well as commonalities in the experiences and views of the interview participants. The main findings highlighted the need for preventative measures to curb and eventually eradicate police killings in KZN Province. Some measures that have been used are the wearing of bulletproof vests and being vigilant at all times; however, these have not been efficient as police killings are still escalating. Contributing factors for these killings were found to be the ready availability of police firearms, police officials’ presence in inappropriate places such as taverns, and the shortage of backups in high-risk areas. Criminals’ motives for the killing of police officers were found to be the desire to obtain firearms, to hijack police officials’ private vehicles, to escape arrest, and to procure police uniforms that are worn as a disguise in the execution of more crime.
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    An exploration of communal responses to burglary at residential premises in the Cato Crest informal settlement of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal province.
    (2019) Mpofu, Zandile Faith.; Singh, Shanta Balgobind.; Murhula, Bashizi Bashige.
    Violence and crime in countries such as South Africa are shaped by deep socio-economic inequalities; however, the spatial designs of urban areas and housing also play a role, but often in differing ways. There is little qualitative research published on communal responses to burglary in informal settlements where the hyper-permeability of housing structures directly shapes residents’ experiences of crime. This dissertation reflects on the wider literature on the consequences and experiences community members have on residential burglary. The dissertation examines the nature, effects, responses and programmes to curb burglary in the informal settlement area of Cato Crest, Durban. It asserts that the informal settlement have serious adverse effects on the people’s housing quality and their built environment. The secondary data was obtained from books, journals and seminar papers Data were obtained through semi-structured one-on-one interviews with the community members of Cato Crest informal settlement. The study provides a range of new insights into the problem of burglary and confirms some of the findings from research previously conducted elsewhere. The analysis of the area reveals that both the burglary rate and the proportion of repeat burglaries are much higher in the public housing areas. The high burglary rate in this area is partly attributable to the large number of burglaries of vacant public housing dwellings, usually involving the theft of household items such as mobile phones, stoves and television sets. Various research and policy implications emerge from the study, such as: the need to address police data quality issues; the need for the police or the nearby clinics to employ psychologists that will be readily available for the victims who experienced burglaries and cannot cope; the need for greater clarification in defining what is meant by repeat burglary victimisation; the need to provide programs for the community to curb burglary; the need for greater cooperation between the police and the community members to curb such crimes as burglary. Therefore, government is encouraged to see informal settlements as a solution to new city planning rather than a problem to the urban areas. This research study suggests the implementation of policies and planning, physical infrastructural development, social economic improvement, environment and health improvement. Government, the private sector and communities’ interventions on informal settlements are required in order to prevent burglaries by making sure the perpetrators are punished and the victims are taken care of.
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    Exploring why some youth are engaged in criminal activities to achieve their goals in life: a study of incarcerated male offenders in the Youth Correctional Facility, Westville.
    (2019) Magwaza, Sibonelo Humphrey.; Gopal, Nirmala Devi.
    South Africans are plagued by criminal activities which are perpetrated mostly by youth each day. A number of youths tend to deviate from socially accepted behaviours which could be due to lack of legitimate opportunities for them to develop in life. Some of the youth would pursue criminal activities for monetary or material gain, while others would conduct crime for mere prestige. Some of them are shaped by social and political circumstances which tend to inhibit them from exploring their capacities. The mere fact of being raised in socially disadvantaged communities could be the prime cause of youth crime as they are raised in the very communities which are the breeding soil for potential offenders as they try to make ends meet. Youth who cannot bear to live under poverty opt for shortcut means to achieve success in their lives as they develop envy and greed when observing other youth of a similar age being given legitimate opportunities to showcase their talents. However such criminal means of achieving success in life are detrimental to the victims of crime and the community in general. Those who are caught and found guilty of crime spend their valuable times incarcerated and could choose to continue with criminal careers or desist from crime if they learned their lesson when they were confined in correctional facilities. However, some studies have identified failures of preventive measures to counteract youth crime. Farrington and colleagues (2016), when they did a systematic review, found that a measure of community-based interventions involving individual, family and school-based interventions produced a mere five percent reduction in the manifestation of youth criminal behaviour. Not even the institutions like prisons are winning the battle to reduce crime to satisfactory level, especially in South Africa. McCarthy, Schiraldi, and Shark (2016: 2) state that regardless whether the benefits and costs of youth prisons are measured on magnitude of public money spent, they are putting the very people they are suppose to help and put them in a detrimental position irrespective of the fact that prisons and other crime prevention measures have been there for generations. The institutional failure to address the problem of crime however does not inhibit other attempts like this study to establish other motives for some people to engage in criminal activities. This is why the aim of this study was to explore why some youth decided to engage in criminal activities, to identify factors in their environments that influence criminal behaviour, and to recommend preventative measures against future youth criminal behaviour.
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    An exploratory study on electricity theft in Staram informal settlement in Tongaat in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal Province.
    (2019) Khwela, Hlengiwe.; Sibanyoni, Ephraim Kevin.
    This study focussed on electricity theft in Staram, an informal settlement in Tongaat, Durban, in KwaZulu-Natal. Staram was chosen as the study site as the Tongaat area has been identified as a ‘hot spot’ for electricity theft in Durban. The objectives of the study were to (i) explore the causes of electricity theft in Staram and (ii) assess the nature of electricity theft in Staram; (iii) examine the challenges of responding to electricity theft in Staram; and (iv) evaluate the current preventative measures employed for mitigating electricity theft in Staram. Staram is divided into three sections: Endliniyomlilo, Harry and Eziweni, and the study covered all these sections. At the time of the study, Endliniyomlilo was electrified and about 12 houses had maintained their electricity; the other two sections did not have electricity. For this study, in-depth, face-to-face interviews were employed for data collection. This study consisted of 15 participants who were chosen on the basis that in-depth data via in-depth interviews could be elicited in order to achieve all the objectives. Five participants were selected from each of the three sections. They were chosen because they were residents in the area of study as well as victims and/or perpetrators of electricity theft. The data were collected in February 2017. This study was informed by Beccaria (1767) Rational Choice Theory (RCT), Shaw and McKay’s (1942) Social Disorganisation Theory (SDT), and the Chicago School of Criminology’s (1942) Economic Theory. This study used RCT and SDT in understanding the manner in which people engage themselves in electricity theft. The Economic Theory was used to understand the causes of electricity theft, as it is argues that criminal acts are committed in instances where the amount of gain from a crime is greater than the costs expected, while also being concerned with how society utilises its scarce resources (Becker, 1968:820). It is important to understand that electricity theft is a global problem and it has a negative impact not only on human but also economic terms. This study determined that electricity theft affects everyone, physically endangers people’s lives and socially, can cause an overload of the network, which can result in unplanned outages. As such, electricity theft can negatively affect the smooth operation of traffic lights, business practices or the emergency services such as hospitals and affects the economy and puts undue strain on the municipality and the government revenue.
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    The physical environment and its contribution to crime: a case study of Inanda in Durban, South Africa.
    (2019) Khoza, Bongukwanda Russell.; Singh, Shanta Balgobind.
    This study explored the occurrence of crime at Inanda, a township which is located in Durban from the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. This area is plagued with high rates of crime and this reality causes unrest in the community and this calls for effective measures to be undertaken to reduce it. The crimes prevalent include, but are not limited to the following: murder, dealing with drugs and its abuse, robbery and rape. Previous studies have revealed that there is a relationship between the physical environment of a place and crime (Cozen, 2002; Reynald, 2011; Schnell, 2017). Likewise, this study sought to investigate causal factors of crimes at Inanda by focusing on the physical environment of the area. It was conducted using a qualitative research approach, which applied a case study research design. It employed ten police officers from the South African Police Services who were interviewed for their experiences and understanding of crime occurring at Inanda. These participants provided data integral to the study and it was analyzed through a thematic analysis. In this analysis three themes emerged which are crime opportunity; challenges; and crime prevention. The findings obtained from these themes revealed that crime occurs as a consequence of poor living conditions owing to poor service delivery and infrastructural underdevelopment in the area. These conditions provide challenges to police officers and other law enforcement agents, and the community in their effort to combat crime. Against this backdrop, the study utilises the model of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design and makes recommendations on how it can be applied to reduce the negative effects of environmental conditions in the area. It is envisaged that doing so enhances the efforts of law enforcement agents and implementation of the model and other prevention strategies used in combating crime. These recommendations include increased resources, service delivery, research studies/projects, and government support of the crime prevention model.