2009-08-20: SA's million unsolved crime cases

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2009-08-20: SA's million unsolved crime cases

Postby GOSA » Mon, 2009-09-07 07:01

http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1 ... 777C823473

SA's million unsolved crime cases
August 20 2009 at 07:18AM

By Michelle Pietersen
Staff Reporter

More than a million of the two million criminal cases reported
annually in South Africa are never solved.

That's according to Willie Scholtz, the head of the South African
Criminal Justice System working group, who spoke at an event hosted by the
University of Cape Town's Graduate School of Business on Wednesday night.

"The cases seem to get lost somewhere - they fall through the cracks.
We have to ensure cases are not filtered out," Scholtz said.

He blamed a number of factors for the country's 10.3% conviction rate
in criminal cases
These included the inadequate collection of evidence at crime scenes,
insufficient investigation of crimes, trials which ran for an extremely long
time, and ineffective court processes.

"If you really identify the perpetrator and secure evidence at crime
scenes it will cut down court time. The longer it takes to disperse justice,
the longer it will take to get a good verdict."

He said prosecutors and Legal Aid Board attorneys also added to the
problem by "endlessly delaying cases".

"We have a programme aimed at totally transforming the system. We plan
to engage with legal professionals to put protocol and measures in place to
ensure they don't unnecessarily delay cases. We have to bind them to their

Scholtz heads up a team that assisted with a review of the criminal
justice system.

He said that although "a lot of work needed to be
done" he remained optimistic that with "accountability and action"
positive results would be seen "within the next two to three years".

"This project builds on a very solid foundation.

It must be said that government understands the problem and the size
of the problem and has committed themselves to action," Scholtz said.
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