Pretoria: Crime is a scourge that does not respect borders and international solidarity is needed to combat it, says Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa.
Addressing the 14th International Summit on Transnational Crime in Geneva, Switzerland, on Thursday, Mthethwa said syndicates have made the entire globe the theatre of their operations.
Highlighting some of the major crimes that the global fraternity had to deal with, Mthethwa noted that the challenges posed by drugs and organised crime pervaded all levels of life.
It was also reflected in corruption, drug abuse, violence, indifference to the suffering of others, the breakdown of family life, as well as the crisis of morality, culture and philosophy.
“The drug trade and its associated problems continue to grow in most parts of the world. Global abuse and accessibility of drugs has become increasingly complex, as trafficking routes have become shorter, more diverse and more easily traversed,” he pointed out.
Mthethwa also acknowledged the impact of white-collar crime, the victims of which included the economy, employers, consumers and the environment.
The international community needed to come together to address these and other crimes.
“The urgent need to fight criminality is the major factor necessitating international solidarity,” he said.
Networks of crime had grown in their reach and sophistication across boundaries. These included syndicates that dealt with money laundering, human smuggling as well as drug trafficking and abuse,.
“We must meet the challenge posed by criminality by stepping up cooperation bilaterally and at the international level in the interest of social progress. Crime is a global problem common to the whole humankind. But it has not been engendered by the whole humankind as a body. It is either we fight crime now or crime will turn into a problem for humankind, threatening our wellbeing and very survival,” he stressed.
Mthethwa highlighted the need to develop a common understanding of what constituted organised crime and drug trafficking.
“On the bilateral level, we need to find ways of exchanging notes on the latest crime patterns and develop ways in which we can better coordinate our assault against crime. Multilateral institutions like Interpol need to be strengthened and all the time kept pure from any criminal intent,” the minister added.
An effective crime intelligence capacity was needed to thwart criminals’ intentions before they could implement them and this information should be shared.
Capacity to use the latest technology needed to be developed in order to deal with cybercrime effectively.
The success in the war against crime depended on ordinary citizens playing their part, he added.
“We must take upon ourselves the task of organising a universal struggle against crime and criminality in such a manner as to obtain the support of all the people.”
Governments have an important role in the achieving this united front and needed to ensure the mobilisation of people in the fight against crime.
“Crime and criminality impels the people to wage unprecedented struggle against this phenomenon. Our task is to instil self-confidence in society, to rouse their initiative and increase their offensive and striking capacity against crime.
“Our success depends also on our ability to encourage, harness and incorporate into these endeavours the creativity, daring and energy of youth,” said Mthethwa.
Joint, progressive efforts to fight crime and the mobilisation of the masses in support of this cause would constitute a mighty and invincible force that would contribute to the destruction of criminal gangs, Mthethwa said.