Research & Innovation 2015-16 - Page 52

Governing safer cities in a
globalised world
How does Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille, with the resources of a mediumsized South African city, take on – for example – the Chinese mafia, who are
flooding Cape Town with drugs in exchange for illegally harvested abalone?
The impact is greater drug use, violence and exclusion among the city’s
poorest and most marginalised residents.
De Lille is not alone in having to tackle global criminal
networks within a local context, and seeking to
forge better cooperation with national government:
illicit flows of goods and people, and the criminal
networks that accompany those flows, are increasingly
interwoven with local vulnerabilities in cities around the
world. City governments are often faced with insecurity
derived from global flows – and face serious challenges
in responding to them.
Violence and criminality in cities manifests in multiple
ways. It does not always start with criminal gangs; but
often, with a growing proliferation in non-statutory
security forces such as private security companies, or
political-party militias. These forces usually develop
from the margins: from populations neglected by
the state. But once these groups have established a
control over a given territory, they need to find the
means to sustain and commodify it. This opens the
space for local groups to start making contact with
global criminal networks, to cash in on global illicit
flows. These include the flow of weapons, drugs,
humans, and even environmental products such as
rhino horn and abalone.
These criminal networks undermine human
development, good governance and the life chances of
the people who live in the affected cities.
Making cities safe
United Nations (UN) sustainable development goal
11 seeks to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and
sustainable; to this end, the UN Office on Drugs and
Crime (UNODC) tasked the Centre for Criminology to
develop a framework to guide policymakers on how
to build safer cities in a globalised world. This report,
Failure of regulation in the taxi industry
The high level of violence in the taxi industry
is an excellent example of failure of regulation
by the state. The taxi industry in South Africa is
essentially a mafia organisation that regulates
itself through violence. According to Shaw, the
majority of criminal assassinations in South
Africa are related to the taxi industry.

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