chapter  2
22 Pages

The Spectacle of Crime in the ‘New’ South Africa

This chapter aims to observe, from the vantage point of the present moment, what this short history of official criminology has told us about governance in South Africa, about the broader debates on penality and neoliberalism, on prisons and democracy, and to reflect on recent developments. Instead of attributing the centrality of the prison to an increase in crime, and attributing the latter to the transition to democracy, the chapter argues that people should seek more grounded sociological explanations for why crime plays such an important role in governance in post-apartheid South Africa. Crime in both the apartheid and African National Congress (ANC) regimes was and is, partially at least, caused by socio-structural factors, but, for different reasons, both Nationalist Party (NP) and ANC governments adopted versions of neoliberal market policies that worsened these structural processes. The 'new' South Africa has seen a proliferation of strategy documents and white papers.