South Africa: Drug cartels, crime syndicates, and their relationship to politicians

By Carien du Plessis
Posted on Friday, 18 November 2022 13:21

Zuma, leader of South Africa's ruling ANC, chats with Malema, president of ANCYL, at the Pietermaritzburg high court outside Durban
Jacob Zuma (L), leader of South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC), chats with Julius Malema, president of African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL), at the Pietermaritzburg high court outside Durban August 4, 2008. Zuma appeared in court on Monday to push for the dismissal of a corruption case that could stop him becoming president next year. Over 1,000 supporters demonstrated outside the high court in Pietermaritzburg to denounce charges they say are politically motivated and to try to stop Zuma from being put on trial later in the year. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko (SOUTH AFRICA)

Two recent books from South Africa detail the links between drug cartels and crime syndicates, which allege a cosy relationship with some powerful politicians, from the late former police chief Jackie Selebi to corruption-accused former president Jacob Zuma, to the opposition leader Julius Malema. Many of these relationships date back to the apartheid era, but some are new.

Clash of the Cartels, a chronicle of international drug syndicate activity in South Africa by Daily Maverick crime journalist Caryn Dolley was officially released on 10 November. The book comes as the Western Cape government, run by the opposition Democratic Alliance, is mulling an inquiry about possible links between the police and gangs as part of its fight against escalating gang activity in the province.