Building Safer Communities

Building local knowledge

Ndifuna Ukwazi (NU) engages with safety and policing bodies in a constructive and supportive way. This includes constant engagement with the South African Police Service (SAPS), and oversight bodies on a local, provincial and national level.

NU’s research and learning initiatives are directed by the needs of people on-the-ground. Our work is focused on poor and working class communities, such as Khayelitsha, where the police are often the only protection that people have against crime. By partnering with local mass member organisations, such as the Social Justice Coalition, NU has built knowledge around what makes people feel safe/unsafe in their communities.

Everyone has the right to freedom and security of the person

– Constitution of South Africa, section 12

NU’s safety work is focused on helping people understand what their rights are, and how to exercise them; helping people understand how policing works, and how it should work in the local community; and helping to build a positive relationship between the community and the police. Building community knowledge is essential in order for community-police structures, such as the Community Police Forums (CPFs), to be effective. CPFs allow the community to oversee the work of the SAPS, but also allow it to support SAPS through information sharing.

Promoting community centred safety policies

People’s needs must be responded to, and the public must be encouraged to participate in policy-making.

– Constitution of South Africa, section 195(e)

Section 195 of the Constitution requires that all public bodies, including the SAPS, “be governed by democratic principles”. These principles include being responsive to the needs of community members. NU monitors the development and implementations of safety and policing policy on a local, provincial and national level. NUs monitoring work is focused on helping people understand: what safety policy looks like in South Africa; what any proposed changes to policy mean for local communities; and have a say on local, provincial and national policy.

Promoting public and private accountability

Public administration must be governed by the democratic values and principles enshrined in the Constitution, including the following principles:
(a) A high standard of professional ethics must be promoted and maintained.
(f) Public administration must be accountable.
(g) Transparency must be fostered by providing the public with timely, accessible and accurate information.

– Constitution of South Africa, section 195

A core focus of NU is to work with and support local organisations in their struggle for social justice and accountability in the public and private sector. Through research and advocacy, we help build capacity in our community-based partner organisations, and apply pressure on local and national government to meet their constitutional obligations.

Visit the Open and Participatory Budgets page on this website to see some of the ways we campaign for accountability and transparency in local government.

In 2014, in an effort to promote public and private accountability, NU exposed a R400 million corrupt contract between the South African Police Service (SAPS) and a company called Waymark Infotech. All the records related to the contract can be accessed via the link below:




SAPS Shadow Report


How Safe Are Our Youth?


Ndifuna Ukwazi DARE TO KNOW
18 Roeland Street (behind City Varsity)
Cape Town
South Africa

Telephone:  +27 (0)21 012 5094