Hitmen for Hire: Exposing South Africa’s Underworld

Mark Shaw

Jonathan Ball; July 2017

296 pages

Description

Hitmen for Hire takes the reader on a journey like no other, navigating a world of paid hitmen, informers, rogue policemen, criminal taxi bosses, gang leaders, and crooked politicians and businessmen. Criminologist Mark Shaw examines a society in which contract killings have become commonplace, looking at who arranges hits, where to find a hitman, and even what it is like to operate as a hitman – or woman.

Since 1994, South Africa has seen a worrying increase in the commercialisation of murder – and has been rocked by several high-profile contract killings. Drawing on his research of over a thousand incidents of hired assassinations, from 2000 to 2016, Shaw reveals how these murders are used to exert a mafia-type control over the country’s legal and illegal economic activity. Contracted assassinations, and the organised criminal activity behind them, contain sinister linkages with the upperworld, most visibly in relation to disputes over tenders and access to government resources. State security actors increasingly mediate relations between the under and upper worlds, with serious implications for the long-term success of the post-apartheid democratic project.


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