Jeremy Sarkin argues that the high levesl of crime in South Africa undermine good governance and have a negative impact on the economy and on human rights, The problem is exacerbated by a poorly functioning criminal justice system. However, government has taken steps to address many of the problems.

The author stresses the importance of government remaining focused, as it is constitutionally obliged to do, on the protection of human rights. Bowing to public pressure to "get tough on crime", it is argued, will not reduce the level of crime; it will undermine the development of a human rights culture which is the foundation of a democratic and stable society.

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