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South Africans “turnaround strategy” expected to snare dark web criminal

South African police spokesman Brigadier Naidu Vish, National commissioner General Sitole Khehla of the Bishop Lavis police in Cape Town, and Western Cape commissioner Lieutenant-General Jula Khombinkosi on Tuesday said that they had teamed up to manage the increased dark web crimes in the area.

According to a report published by Tor, the number of dark web users in South Africa has increased to over eight thousands users a day. This in turn has increased illegal activities such as drug and weapon trafficking on the dark web by the same margin.

In a joint mission the South African police will be actively tracking down to catch and dismantle organized criminal networks on the dark web, says General Sitole Khehla, the national commissioner. He was speaking at a press conference at Bishop Lavis police station in Cape Town on Tuesday where he announced their “turnaround strategy” which will hopefully guide them in the mission to reducing and eventually stop dark web crimes.

He said that part of their turnaround strategy includes use of ‘unconventional’ methods to hook key networks and targets, including the use of the dark web itself.

The national commissioner also revealed the creation of “Modus Operandi Strategy Centre” that will help them in catching dark web organized crime gothiaths.

However, it is increasingly more difficult to reduce the number of dark web user and to track down criminals. Brigadier Pieterse Piet, the Chief Head of Electronic crime unit not long ago said that it is nearly impossible to completely stop all dark web users in South Africa. “It is extremely difficult to locate and track criminals on dark web let alone establishing exactly what happens due to the anonymity,” he said. South African police are joining forces with other enforcement agencies, including the FBI so as to manage the threat.

The rising threat of increased dark web users drew the attention of the South African Police Service (SAPS) over a year ago when the South African government organized and decided to provide extensive and special training to local police to enable them to manage the increasing threat.

“With the help of the two strategies law enforcement agencies had already arrested more than 30 individual perpetrators and five dark web ‘kingpins’ alleged to be running a mandrax production facility in Cape Town,” he said. However, he concealed their names for what he referred to be for security reasons as they were “extremely dangerous.”

Asked on his plans and views over the rising gang violence especially in the western side of Cape Town, the National Commissioner said a strategy was already being executed and a ‘gang combat unit’ had been deployed in the area.

Sitole also addressed police morale, which has been negatively affected by the corruption in the high ranks of police officers, saying that the main challenge is in the minds and spirits of the law enforcers. “We want them to know that they are the most important and precious assets in our country,” he said. “Increasing and changing service members, improving their working conditions and changing their mind and soul through new development, training and mentorship programmes will be some of my top priorities. I want to revolutionise and reunite South African Police Service by fixing what is broken,” he concluded.

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