SA ranked among the worst in the world in matters of order and security_1

A new international report has ranked South Africa among the bottom of the bunch when it comes to order and security, after the likes of Myanmar – a country which is currently locked in one of the world’s longest civil wars. The World Justice Project released its latest Rule of Law Index earlier this month and ranked South Africa 110th out of 128 countries in terms of how well it ensured the security of its people and property. Myanmar was ranked 94th and Burkina Faso – where terror attacks at churches and markets have recently made headlines – was ranked...
A new international report has ranked South Africa among the bottom of the bunch when it comes to order and security, after the likes of Myanmar – a country which is currently locked in one of the world’s longest civil wars.

The World Justice Project released its latest Rule of Law Index earlier this month and ranked South Africa 110th out of 128 countries in terms of how well it ensured the security of its people and property.

Myanmar was ranked 94th and Burkina Faso – where terror attacks at churches and markets have recently made headlines – was ranked 107th.

The World Justice Project is an “independent, multidisciplinary organization working to advance the rule of law worldwide” and releases its Rule of Law Index on an annual basis. The report measures “the rule of law based on the experiences and perceptions of the general public and in-country legal practitioners and experts worldwide”.

The latest iteration saw South Africa’s overall ranking improve – from 47th in 2019, to 45th this year.

But in terms of “order and security” – one of eight factors that the report looks at – the country dropped even further down the rankings from its already low position of 106th in 2019.

Singapore, Hong Kong and Denmark were ranked the best three countries in this respect and Pakistan, Nigeria and Afghanistan were the worst.

Said the World Justice Project in the 2020 index, “security is one of the defining aspects of any rule of law society and is a fundamental function of the state”.

“It is also a precondition for the realization of the rights and freedoms that the rule of law seeks to advance,” it added.

The report’s findings in terms of order and security, reflected how effectively crime was controlled as well as how well civil conflict was limited and to what extent “people do not resort to violence to redress personal grievances”.

They were based on the prevalence of common crimes “as well as people’s general perceptions of safety in their communities” and whether “people are effectively protected from armed conflict and terrorism”. In addition, they considered “whether people resort to intimidation or violence to resolve civil disputes amongst themselves or to seek redress from the government, and whether people are free from mob violence”.

Violence monitor and analyst Mary de Haas says the culture of lawlessness and corruption in South Africa is “endemic, at every level”.

“It’s systemic, that’s the whole problem,” she told The Citizen yesterday, “But we must start somewhere. The only thing you can do is chip away at it with specific issues. I deal with people day in and day out, who can’t get justice”.

She said corruption within the criminal justice system further impacted on the public’s confidence in the institution, which led to people taking the law into their own hands and mob justice.

“People have no faith in the system,” De Haas said.

She said rooting out corruption would foster increased trust in the system and improved order and security in general.

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