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2010 Soccer World Cup

Corrupt South Africa cops could target 2010 tourists - ISS

Jul 24, 2008

CAPE TOWN - Some members of South Africa's poorly paid police force are vulnerable to corruption and could target tourists during the 2010 Soccer World Cup for bribes, the Institute for Security Studies warned on Thursday.

President Thabo Mbeki's government has intensified efforts to combat crime ahead of the tournament, and official figures show murders, rapes and other violent crimes have dropped in the past year, although they remain high.

But these gains could be eroded by corruption among police, who are not only lowly paid but also highly stressed in a country with one of the highest crime rates in the world, said Andrew Faull, an ISS researcher who specialises in police corruption.

"Public perceptions of corruption in the police are on the rise, resulting in a loss of faith in some law enforcement agencies," Faull told Reuters.

"And with 2010 around the corner, some senior metro police managers have expressed concern over a potential escalation in incidents of petty bribery -- such as paying money to escape a traffic fine -- hitting tourists."

Faull said there was no measurable evidence to suggest police criminality and corruption was on the rise, but data indicated police authorities could do more to curb it.

Speculation around factors influencing a police member's criminal intent and behaviour varies greatly, but almost always included low pay and stressful conditions.

The lowest ranked student police constable earns about 3,000 rand ($400) a month, although salaries for senior officials in the South African Police Services are much higher.

National police spokesman Lindela Mashigo said the force did not tolerate corrupt or criminal behaviour among its members.

"Most police are committed and it's only certain individuals we want to purge out of the force because they are tainting its image," Mashigo said.

Corrupt South Africa cops could target 2010 tourists - ISS

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