Home Institution

Columbia University

Publication Date

Spring 2019

Program Name

South Africa: Social and Political Transformation


The aim of this project is to critically analyze the structure and performance of the South African Police Service (SAPS) at the nexus of juvenile criminal justice and homelessness. Facing issues of social discord, legitimacy, and patterns of corruption following the era of apartheid, SAPS plays a critical role in both preventing as well as eliminating crime. Therefore, this project focuses on a particularly marginalized community, under-aged street children, since the treatment of youth crime and/or criminality in Durban serves as a microcosm of a larger system of practices implemented by SAPS. Through in-depth interviews with local social workers, a representative from the Durban police service, and Cato Manor township residents, I investigated the purposes, benefits, as well as critiques of community policing programs targeting juveniles within the city of Durban. The findings illustrate that the perception of street youth as well as the police may change depending on geography, age and gender of the street child. Moreover, there is an overwhelming need to support juveniles living in such conditions, since the lack of social support beyond shelter living often leaves children disproportionately impacted by Safer Cities- era policing strategies.


African Languages and Societies | African Studies | Juvenile Law | Politics and Social Change | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | Social Welfare | Urban Studies


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