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New Crime-Fighting Strategy:
South Africa tightens police laws

50 murders per day, innumerable car hijackings and robberies, an ubiquitous feeling of unsafety among the South African citizens and a bad reputation as an unsafe travel destination: It was time that politics did something about it. The former government of Thabo Mbeki merely played the problem down. The new president Jacob Zuma, who used to call the extremely high crime rate an invention of the malicious, unpatriotic media, now eventually acknowledges the existence of the problem and has announced radical steps in fighting violent crime. The upcoming FIFA2010 makes the task to get a grip on crime the more urgent.

South African policemen don't have to fire warning shots any longer, if confronted with armed criminals. Zuma says criminals who carry arms are prepared to kill, and the police is now allowed to "shoot-to-kill". Police officers are not supposed to take any risk, but use their weapons instantly. At the same time the police will be shaped into a well armed Task Force.

Zuma's plans are met by broad approval in the South African population. Some, however, fear that police might use their weapons too liberally. On the other hand, the ever growing crime rate doesn't leave the government much choice. Many South Africans want the death penalty to be reintroduced.



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