Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said there were 1 013 murders in the second quarter of the 2020/21 period, and in the second quarter of this year (2021/2022) there were 1 011 in the province. Picture Leon Lestrade. African News Agency/ANA.
Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said there were 1 013 murders in the second quarter of the 2020/21 period, and in the second quarter of this year (2021/2022) there were 1 011 in the province. Picture Leon Lestrade. African News Agency/ANA.

Decrease in murders offers a glimmer of hope for the Western Cape

By Sisonke Mlamla Time of article published Nov 22, 2021

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Cape Town - A tiny decrease in the number of murders in the Western Cape compared with the rest of the country has offered a glimmer of hope for residents in some of Cape Town’s most violent areas.

Of the country’s top 30 murder hot spots, Harare in Khayelitsha and Nyanga police stations recorded decreases in the number of murders in the second quarter of the 2021/22 crime statistics (July to September).

Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said while the country’s murder rate increased by 20.7% when compared with the same period in 2020/21, two fewer cases were reported in the Western Cape.

He said there were 1 013 murders in the second quarter of the 2020/21 period, and in the second quarter of this year (2021/2022) there were 1 011 in the province.

“The police reported 131 gang-related murders in the Western Cape in quarter two, compared to 187 murders in quarter 1. There were no murders at farms or smallholdings in the Western Cape for this period,” Fritz said.

He said there were also decreases in most crime categories, with contact crime down by 6.4%, attempted murder down by 15.4%, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm (GBH) down by 3.1%, and common assault down by 6.9%.

While robbery with aggravated circumstances decreased by 9.3%, common robbery increased by 2%, he said.

“We welcome this stabilisation. We see it as a confirmation that we are on the right track with our Safety Plan. Importantly, we do not see this as a victory, as much more still needs to be done. But we do celebrate it as it means that we are on the right track,” Fritz said.

Nyanga Community Policing Forum chairperson Martin Makasi said the fact that the area had recorded a decrease in murder could be attributed to three factors.

“Nyanga police precinct has an effective partnership between community, civil society, faith and religious community with the police working together and commitment from station management, cluster and provincial police officers,” Makasi said.

He said the introduction of Area Based Teams driven by the Department of Community Safety, which has seen deployment of the Law Enforcement Advancement Plan officers by the City to increase police visibility in the area.

Police Minister Bheki Cele said: “We remain encouraged by the decreases and attribute them to the resourcing of policing in the Western Cape through more personnel and vehicles deployed at identified hot spots, especially in the Cape Town Metropole.”

He repeated that the Western Cape received “the lion’s share of policing resources and funding” to bring about peace and stability.

Provincial Community Policing Forum board chairperson Fransina Lukas said the police would never be enough for the communities.

“As communities, we must endeavour to make our places safer for ourselves and our children,” Lukas said.

She said the government must work with communities, develop and implement programmes aimed at youth employment, skills development and social upliftment.

SA Policing Union spokesperson Lesiba Thobakgale said it was alarming that every quarter, crime statistics were being released, people fold their hands and choose not to implement solutions to combat crime.

“Criminals will therefore have an upper hand, politics killed policing and that continues to plunge further as crime statistics are showing that picture,” he said.

Parliament’s portfolio committee on police chairperson Tina Joemat-Pettersson said that although the police reported a general decline in crimes committed across the country, there was still deep concern about murders and sexual offences, which continued to increase.

She said the committee heard that the growing number of murders of women and children continued to be a problem.

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