Four Postgraduate Criminology Degree Candidates Graduate
Ms Keemera Govender, Dr Krinesha George, Dr Nokukhanya Mbonambi and Dr Smangele Shandu were all supervised by Professor Shanta Singh for their Criminology degrees.
Govender, who examined the impact of domestic violence on children during the COVID-19 lockdown in South Africa for her master’s degree, found that domestic violence against children generated negative emotions and irreversible effects. ‘There is currently no legislation in South Africa specifically protecting children from domestic violence, while the number of services for victims has declined,’ she said. The study provides insights into effective strategies to help end domestic violence and protect children, beyond the pandemic. Govender highlighted the need for a collaborative approach to domestic violence.
In her doctoral degree research, George explored current rehabilitative programmes and exposed the lack of offence-specific facilities offered to female offenders in South Africa. ‘While current rehabilitative programmes assist in combatting risk factors such as poverty, unemployment and drug use, the lack of offence-specific programmes leads to recidivism and offenders re-entering the correctional centres,’ she said. The study also identified poverty, anger, violence against children during the lockdown and beyond, and drug use as risk factors for female offenders and suggested the development of offence-specific programmes, such as career guidance, to address these limitations.
Mbonambi researched when and where burglaries occurred in the Newlands East Policing Precinct in Durban for her PhD. This knowledge was fundamental for the formulation of crime prevention strategies as it facilitated operational and tactical resource deployment in areas at times when they were most needed. The study identified various factors at the local community level contributing to this crime, highlighting the need for collaborative strategies between the government, the police, and the community to combat the issue effectively. Mbonambi suggested ‘the involvement of construction/development companies and juvenile rehabilitation personnel in preventing residential burglaries.’
Shandu explored the developments of a prosecutorial approach to combat income tax fraud in South Africa during her doctoral research. The study revealed a lack of skills and knowledge in areas of detection, investigation, and prosecution of income tax fraud among stakeholders. Technological challenges, conflict of interest, and legislation challenges were also identified. Shandu recommended the development of a technological tool for reporting suspected tax fraud, improving the South African Revenue Services (SARS) e-filing system, signing a memorandum of understanding among stakeholders, conducting public workshops, ongoing training, implementing tax fraud prevention strategies, and amending tax laws to separate powers between SARS and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU).
All four students were grateful for the support received from family, friends and their supervisor.
Words: Melissa Mungroo
Photograph: Abhi Indrarajan