ATTORNEY GENERAL, NATAL
PREVENTION OF ORGANISED CRIME BILL, 1998
1. My overall view of the Bill is that its effectiveness and focus are somewhat blunted by superfluous and/or confusing detail The Bill creates new offences and new procedures. Simple wording should ensure effective application.
2. The effective application of the definitions is crucial to the success of the Bill. There seems to be ample scope to simplify the definitions.
2.1 A criminal gang could be defined as: a formal or informal organisation, association or group that is as such involved in the commission of criminal acts through the individual or collective activities of its members.
2.2 A criminal gang member could be defined as a person who is a member of a criminal gang and in considering whether a person is such a member, the court may have regard to me following factors ….
2.3 The definition of "pattern of illegal conduct" seems to focus on clearly defined illegal acts, thereby excluding the continuous involvement in a criminal activity that stretches over a period or time (like, for instance, a syndicate boss who commits no acts himself, but who has the actual perpetrators on his payroll and receives the spoils). A possible definition could be : the continuous or repeated participation or involvement in illegal conduct, including two acts of illegal conduct not more than 10 years apart (excluding any period of imprisonment).
3. The offences (section 2):
3.1 A distinction should be drawn between those held liable on the basis that they benefit from or administer tile proceeds of organised crime and those held liable on the basis of their active participation in organised criminal activities. It appears that section 2 is meant to deal with the former group.
3.2 The need for the requirement in section 2(3)(b) is not clear. Neither is the need for a distinction between "a crime" and "organised crime" (which term is not defined in section 1). The cornerstone on which the offences listed in section 2(1) is built, is a pattern of illegal conduct. Thus, the Director will in any event have to be satisfied that a crime has been committed before he will authorise a prosecution in terms of section 2(3)(a).
4 The penalty (section 3):
It is suggested that a period of imprisonment combined with a fine should be included as a sentencing option.