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Book launch on organised crime
Breaking the Bombers

A new book analyses how the South African Police managed to break PAGAD, People against Gangsterism and Drugs, a notorious death squad in Cape Town, over 20 years ago. Panelists discussed at the launch event in Pretoria what can be learnt from this historic success for tackling organised crime in South Africa today.

Seminar Room and Screen: Panel at the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria, during the hybrid event

Panel at the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria, during the hybrid event


Fascinating insights were shared by the great panelists:

- Bulelani Ngcuka, former National Director of Public Prosecutions

- Author Mark Shaw, Director of the Global Initiative against Transnational Organised Crime, and

- Anton du Plessis, Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions 

They discussed what needs to be done to fight organized crime in South Africa today. One lesson learned from fighting PAGAD in the 1990s became clear: it needs joint strategies, joint teams, joint performance targets, and benchmarks between the law enforcement agencies involved.

Book pile: "Breaking the Bombers" - the book launched at the event

"Breaking the Bombers" - the book launched at the event


Many people in South Africa remember PAGAD all too vividly: from 1996 to 2001, the notorious vigilante group detonated over 400 bombs and carried out countless hits on gang bosses and drug lords in Cape Town.

“The story of PAGAD should serve as a reminder of how destabilizing crime may be politically, and how South Africa, with political will, was able to counter an enormous challenge”, said Shaw at the event.

Breaking the Bombers: How the hunt for Pagad created a crack police unit by Mark Shaw is published by JonathanBallPublishers.

You can get the new book which was launched at the Institute for Security Studies event, at many good bookstores and online.



In case you missed it, watch a recording of the event here:

Breaking the Bombers - Book Launch Recording






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