The South African Police Service and the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa (CGCSA) have joined forces to counteract counterfeit and illegal goods, which cost the South African economy billions every year.
Every crime syndicate has its own signature way of doing things and methods can be as distinctive as a fingerprint.
Known as the modus operandi of a crime, investigators have been analysing these for years on hyper-localised specific crimes but, said national police commissioner General Kehla Sithole, for the first time a modus operandi centre has been developed.
“We are not going to monopolise modus operandi analysis,” Sithole told The Citizen.
“There are professors of criminology across the country, there’s last year’s students of criminology, retired criminologists, researchers, these are the people we will invite into the fusion centre which will house the modus operandi centre.”
At the end of a crime detection conference held in Centurion this week, Sithole noted the organised crime threat assessment strategy, root cause analysis and modus operandi, cybercrime strategy, recruitment, re-enlistment and retention strategy had been reaffirmed.
Deputy national commissioner of crime detection Lieutenant-General Lebeoana Tsumane has been appointed to run the Fusion Centre.
At the panel discussion, New Partnership for Africa’s Development, acting chief executive Peter Varndell noted illegal trade cost the economy up to 10% of the national gross domestic product.
“This is a critical factor in our ailing economy which has fallen into a technical recession for the first time in 10 years,” he said.
He noted illegal goods were so entrenched in the local economy it was becoming difficult to tell the difference between legal and illegal goods and trade.
The South African Revenue Service (Sars) noted a trade deficit of R4.66 billion at the end of August.
The year-to-date (1 January to 31 July 2018) trade deficit of R6.51 billion was a deterioration on the surplus for the comparable period in 2017 of R33.21 billion.
Sars – a valuable force multiplier and with its control of ports and borders, an invaluable combatant against illegal trade – was noticeably absent from the panel.
CGCSA chief executive Gwarega Mangozhe said the group had reached out to Sars, however there had been scheduling issues.
“However, we are engaging Sars. We do have the most important agency in the country, which is the police, so it becomes quite easy for them to come across as part of the security cluster, but certainly Sars will not be left out. It is a critical component.”