Current Staff and Graduate Students
Professor Elrena van der Spuy
Elrena is the Head of the Department of Public Law in the Faculty of Law. She has been interested in the social history of police and policing in South Africa.
Substantive areas of inquiry have included the structural evolution of the police in modern South Africa; the dynamics of policing under conditions of counter-insurgency in the 1980s; the impact of transitional politics on the form and function of the police; the narrative accounts of transition amongst key criminal justice incumbents, and the history of public inquiries into police, 1910-2015.
The complexity and ambiguities associated with the subculture of police organisations has been a long standing research interest. Finally, using the South African case study as a point of departure has allowed her to explore the challenges confronting police in other post colonies.
Find out more here.
Annette Hübschle-Finch is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Centre of Criminology. She is setting up the Environmental Security Observatory (ESO), a joint initiative of the Centre, the Global Risk Governance Programme (located in the Institute for Humanities in Africa at UCT) and the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime.
Her current research focuses on the governance of safety and security, with a specific focus on illegal wildlife economies and the ecosystems that support them, as well as their intersections with legal economies.
Before joining UCT, Annette was a doctoral student and researcher in the Illegal Markets research group at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne, Germany. Her doctoral research explored why illegal markets in rhino horn are so resilient in spite of the myriad measures employed to disrupt them. Part of the fieldwork involved her following rhino horn from the African bush to consumer markets in Asia. In the past, Annette worked for one of Africa’s leading applied policy research institutes, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS). Annette was first a researcher, and then a senior researcher with the Organised Crime and Money Laundering Programme in the Cape Town offices of the ISS between 2002 and 2011. She led and conducted research into organised crime and terrorism in Sub-Saharan Africa, which relied heavily on fieldwork and networking with stakeholders from intergovernmental, regional, national and law enforcement entities, civil society and academia. Annette has also worked as a researcher, consultant, and practitioner on a variety of organised crime, environmental security and broader African security issues. She also acts as a senior research advisor to the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime.
Matt is currently working as a Senior Research Officer in the Centre of Criminology, and is an MPhil student in Criminology with the Faculty of Law at UCT. Matt’s work experience spans over 15 years with extensive experience in project management, research, relationship management, NGO management, social entrepreneurship, business management and strategic management roles.
Dissertation title: South African criminology’s aetiological crisis: reflections on a century of murder
My dissertation investigates South African crime statistics over the last century. It speaks to debates on the causes of crime, especially in South Africa, on the relationship between social theory and empirical data, and on the value of criminological statistics, with a particular focus on the incidence of murder.
I was at UCT for my undergrad in Politics and Economics, as well as my Honours and first Master’s degree in International Relations. I also have a Master’s degree in Criminology from the University of Cambridge.
My primary areas of research interest are crime statistics and drug policy. Together with Mark Shaw, I co-authored the book, A Citizen’s Guide to Crime Trends in South Africa. It aims to empower ordinary people in South Africa to sift through the noise and have better, more informed and productive conversations about the crime statistics. My other key research interest is into alternative approaches to managing the harms around the drug trade, and the global drug legalisation debate.
Dissertation title: Hybrid Governance in the Global South: a case study of collusion within the South African construction industry
The hybrid governance literature on Africa has been primarily based on empirical research on peacebuilding and state building in post conflict states. This research seeks to contribute to hybrid governance literature by examining a case study of collusive tendering in the South African construction industry to gain insights into the nature of hybrid governance outside a peacebuilding and state building context. Having made transition into democratic rule from apartheid in 1994, South Africa is arguably a transitional state with a functioning economy and relatively stable state institutions
I have an LLB degree from the University of Bristol. I studied for an LLM in Commercial Law from UCT and wrote a dissertation on policing in South Africa.
My research interests include organised crime, white collar crime, corruption, governance and reforming the criminal justice system.
Dissertation title: Understanding and Responding to Maritime Trafficking off the East African Rim: Do the measures against piracy off the horn of Africa provide a model?
My research questions which comparative lessons can be drawn from the counter-piracy response in the Western Indian Ocean and be applied when responding to other organised crimes, specifically heroin -and ivory trafficking, also taking place in the waters of the Western Indian Ocean. In doing so, the thesis explores the areas of organised crime, maritime security, maritime crime and international law.
I received my LLB and LLM Degrees from Stellenbosch University. My Master’s Degree was in Public International Law.
My research interests include international law, criminal law, maritime crime, maritime security, drug trafficking, wildlife trafficking and organised crime in general.
You can follow me at The Conversation Africa.
Tamsanqa Munyaradzi Mashasha
Dissertation title: Masters of their Universe: Masculinity, Muscularity, and Steroid Use in a Gym Setting: A South African Case Study
In my thesis, I explore the world of the gym, the personal histories that contributed to gym-going men having become engaged in gym culture and the values that they espouse to explain their obsession. I am interested to explore their views on their activities and on the boundary between legal and illegal use of supplements (including steroids).
I am proud to state that I completed my undergrad, Honours and master’s degree at Rhodes University, Grahamstown.
My primary areas of research interest is Philosophy, specifically Ubuntu. this arises from the political nature of African humanisms, some scholars suggesting there to be sound reason for the preference of the ‘Dialogue’ of Ubuntu over that of intellectual traditions that have been complicit in the colonial perpetuation of the idea that Africans are not human or have nothing to contribute to history or philosophy. My other key research interest are the body and power, masculinity and Anabolic Androgenic Steroids (AAS).
Topic: Rise of the Violent Entrepreneur: A study in illegal protection contracts in a post-1994 Cape Town
Luke’s current research focuses on the nature of protection rackets and the illegal economy they operate within. Drawing on an understanding of organised crime syndicate operations and state and institutional responses, Luke plans to contribute to an understanding of how protection rackets may influence the onset of ‘violent entrepreneurship’ within the transforming post-1994 Cape Town landscape. He endeavours to complete his PhD in 2017 and seeks to pursue a professional career within the National Intelligence Agency thereafter.
Suzzie Onyeka Oyakhire
Dissertation Title: Towards Conceptualizing a Framework for Witness Protection in Nigeria
Suzzie's research explores global practice of witness protection to develop a framework for Nigeria. It speaks to the importance of deconstructing the term witness protection as a lens for resolving conceptual misconceptions underlying witness protection debates. The research adopts a combination of doctrinal and empirical research. The empirical component adopts a qualitative methodology comprising semi structures interviews of key informants in Nigeria.
She holds a bachelor of Laws (LL.B Hons.) from the University of Benin, Nigeria (2005) and a Masters of Law (LL.M International Law) from the University of Cape Town (2009). She is an Advocate and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria (B.L 2007). She has worked as a Research Fellow at the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and is currently a lecturer at the Department of Jurisprudence and International Law, Faculty of Law, University of Benin, Benin City Nigeria.
Her research interests are criminal law and justice, international criminal law, and use of force in international law.
Topic: An Assessment of the Implementation of International Legal Instruments and Responses in the Fight Against Transnational Organized Crime in Africa
Olwethu ‘s educational background includes an LLB from the University of the Free State and an LLM degree in Transnational Criminal Justice from the University of the Western Cape and Humboldt University, Berlin. She is an admitted Attorney of the High Court of South Africa and has worked as a legal adviser in both the private and public sectors in South Africa. She has assisted national, regional and international organizations with research into matters relating to international law, peace and security and transnational organized crime.
Topic: ‘Lest we forget’: Trends in and Organisational Responses to the Murder of Police Officials in the Western Cape Province, South Africa (2002-2014)
With 15 years of professional experience in policing and criminology, Gráinne Perkins is currently pursuing a PhD at the Centre of Criminology, University of Cape Town. Her research deals with the homicide of police officers and how these killings influence the practices and actions of other officers. The research involves participant observation within the working units of the South African Police Service in some of Cape Town’s most violent townships. Gráinne has a Masters in Criminology from Queen’s University, Belfast and a MPA from the University of Ulster. She holds the rank of Detective Sergeant in An Garda Síochána (Irish Police Service) and is a recipient of the Commissioner’s Medal.
Dissertation Title: The Illegal Organ Trade in Africa: Rhetoric, Reality and Policy Solutions
My research seeks to explore the incidences of organ trafficking in Africa; involvement of Africans in the global organ trade as both organ sellers and buyers; as well as the policy issues around a proper regulation of organ transplant systems in Africa that serves as a major contributing factor to the occurrence and growth of illicit organ trade. My research also seeks to explore variations of organ trafficking as it obtains in Africa, some of which including incidences of kidnapping for removal of body parts, use of body parts for voodoo or African traditional medicine, and outright lack of or obsolete transplant technologies resulting in the exploitation of people for their organs in Africa. Finally, my research seeks to analyse the exploitation of migrant populations in the global organ market and more particularly in Africa.
I hold a LLB degree from Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria, a certificate of call to the Nigerian Bar and an LLM degree in Human Rights Law from the University of Cape Town. I have worked previously as a legal officer to the University of Ibadan; legal counsel in a Nigerian Property Consulting firm; and Research assistant to the Dean of Law, University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Currently, I work as a part-time monitor at the Parliamentary Monitoring Group, Cape Town, South Africa.
My primary areas of research interests are human trafficking for the purpose of organ removal; organ trafficking and the illegal organ trade in Africa. Other scholarly interests revolve around Human Rights Law, particularly the rights of victim-donors in organ trafficking incidences.