Fikile Mbalula should read this book: Marianne Thamm recommends Mark Shaw’s Hitmen for Hire
More about the book!
Marianne Thamm has reviewed Mark Shaw’s new book Hitmen for Hire: Exposing South Africa’s Underworld for the Daily Maverick.
‘Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula should make it a priority, when he has a moment in his hectic schedule,’ Thamm writes, ‘to read Shaw’s book. The problem is set out clearly for all to see.’
Shaw is director of the Global Initiative against Transnational Organised Crime and senior visiting fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science’s International Drug Policy Project. He was until recently National Research Foundation Professor of Justice and Security at the Centre of Criminology, University of Cape Town, where he is now an adjunct professor.
His new book examines a system in which contract killings have become the norm, looking at who arranges hits, where to find a hitman, and even what it is like to be a hitman – or woman.
Thamm calls the book ‘a valuable addition’ to a the available library of research that attempts to understand ‘the persistent and extraordinary high levels of crime and violence in South Africa’.
Along with his colleagues at the Centre of Criminology at UCT, Shaw built a database of every hit or attempted hit over a 17-year period. He also drew the electronic database SABINET as well as media records, print and electronic. The results of all of this, including in-depth interviews in the field of hitmen and women, informed this highly readable but disturbing portrait.
“The findings were stark: we recorded 1,146 incidents of hits in the UCT database over the 17-year research period from 2000 to 2016. That’s a lot of cases – and clearly enough to determine at least a set of initial conclusions around the linkages between targeted killings and criminal markets. We found there was a dramatic increase in cases in 2016.”