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An Indigenous Crime Prevention Strategy Employing the Roles of Amakhosi and Social Work in KwaZulu- Natal Province

Crime is one of major social problems which poses a serious threat to the democracy of South Africa. It therefore calls on the citizenry, civil society, and private society to contribute to the ongoing efforts of government in the provision of safety and crime prevention. The study of an indigenous crime prevention strategy employing the roles of AmaKhosi and social workers was conducted in KwaZulu-Natal Province in South Africa. The researcher utilised qualitative research methods to gather information. Intensive interviews and observations were used to elicit and gather data (See Appendix C for research instrument). Thematic data analysis was used to analyse data and extract meaning therefrom. The sample of the study consisted of 22 Amakhosi selected from eleven Houses of Traditional Leadership in KwaZulu-Natal. Another sample drawn was comprised of nine social workers, three from each of the following Government Departments, namely the Department of Social Development, the Department of Community Safety and Liaison, and the Department of Correctional Services. They were chosen as being institutions that serve communities under traditional leadership; and their areas of focus are crime prevention and management. The questions that the study intended to answer were formulated as follows:

  • What are the current social work intervention methods for crime prevention?
  • What types of expertise is employed by AmaKhosi in indigenous crime prevention issues?
  • How can social workers and AmaKhosi working in traditional communities enhance public safety?

The study intended exposing available structures which are existent in traditional communities which could be used in preventing and tackling issues attached thereto. It sought to expose structures and systems that are utilised to enhance resilience in traditional communities so that those can receive attention and be utilised in solving the problem of crime. The study found a plethora of indigenous structures that can be utilised in community development and crime prevention. An exposition of traditional leadership mechanisms, systems and knowledge for crime prevention and management, which fall under the realm of an indigenous knowledge system, was found. The study’s findings pointed out the relevance of indigenous knowledge systems in crime management and prevention. It also showed how social workers and traditional leaders play a role in primary, secondary, and tertiary crime prevention. It displayed the relevance of Amakhosi and iziNduna in restorative justice and offender reintegration, which are critical steps in tertiary crime prevention

Full Name
Dr Adolphas Kwenza Mtshali