Source: (2002) British Journal of Criminology 42:514-533

In townships across South Africa the Community Peace Program, based in Cape Town, is helping local communities establish peace committees. This article argues that through their commitment to a consensus-based, reparative approach to dealing with crime, peace committees reflect restorative processes and values. In other respects, peace committees are quite different to most restorative justice programmes in England, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States. One such difference is their independence from the formal criminal justice system, which this article places within the context of the increasing privatization of policing and governance more generally. Peace committees are also novel for their attempt to address the structural problems underlying crime, the wide range of crimes they attempt to address, and specific aspects of the process used for meetings between victims, offenders and community members.