Organised crime is an international phenomenon that has a significant effect on the economy of a society. It functions as an industry with a view to making a financial profit. In so doing, legal activities are infiltrated which makes organised crime groups complex and diverse. This complexity or diversity is reflected in the various definitions of organised crime; and different combinations and activities of organised crime groups worldwide.
Southern Africa has become a safe refuge for syndicates because of the levels of corruption in South Africa and neighbouring countries. Organised crime in the economic field, and money laundering in particular, forms the life blood of organised crime syndicates in SA and globally.
The nature of organised crime in South Africa shows resemblances to the international experience in that the various criminal activities are connected. The drug trade, vehicle theft, weapon smuggling, money laundering and the smuggling of people and organs across borders are the most important activities of organised crime in South Africa and across the world.