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South Africa president highlights anti-crime initiative in annual address

[JURIST] South African President Thabo Mbeki [official profile] promised in his annual state of the nation address [text] Friday to reduce crime by increasing the police force and reducing unemployment. South Africa [CIA backgrounder; JURIST news archive] has one of the highest crime rates in the world; averaging 50 murders a day. Additionally, last year there were more than half a million reported burglaries and robberies. To combat this, Mbeki announced plans to increase the number of police officers from 152,000 to 180,000 within 3 years, and improve cooperation between the official police and the large private security forces.

Mbeki has been heavily criticized recently after claiming that most citizens are unconcerned about the crime rates. Although his speech backpedaled on such assertions, opposition parties seemed unsatisfied, and pessimistic about Mbeki’s chances of success before the end of his term in 2009. AP has more. AFP has additional coverage.

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