Western Cape Premier, Alan Winde. Picture: by Courtney Africa/African News Agency

Cape Town - In May, 331 murders were recorded in the Western Cape, compared with 304 murders in May 2018.

“That is more than 10 murders per day in the province- lives cut short by senseless violence,” Western Cape Premier, Alan Winde said.

The statistics are sourced from the forensic services unit in the Western Cape Department of Health and not from the official crime statistics as these are only released by SAPS once a year.

Of the 331 lives lost to murder last month, 171 were shot, and 116 killed by stabbing with a sharp object. A total of 271 of the murders were recorded in the metro, with the remaining 60 in the province’s rural areas.

By comparison, in 2018, 107 people died by being stabbed with a sharp object and 150 were shot. A total of 246 of the murders were recorded in the metro, with 58 rural murders.

Premier Winde said: “The fact that murder numbers have increased year-on-year is deeply concerning and points to systemic failures by the police to curb crime and violence. The anti-gang unit, introduced with much fanfare in November last year, has resulted in some arrests, but it is clearly having little impact on the murder rate.”

“The police are woefully under-resourced in this province. In the Western Cape, the police to population ratio is 1 police officer for every 509 people. In the Cape Town metro, this is even higher at 1:560 against a national average of 1:375.”

“Western Cape police are having to investigate ten new murders per day and that doesn’t even include the thousands of other crimes that make up their caseloads. In addition to visible policing in communities and on the ground, this province also desperately requires additional crime intelligence resources which will help us target and curb crime in our metro and in our rural areas.”

Premier Winde said: “As a province we are doing everything we can, by equipping neighbourhood watches and instituting Watching Briefs to monitor the court process after an arrest has been made. But the reality is that without an effective police service, we cannot make progress toward reducing the murder rate. That is why I am pursuing the intergovernmental dispute with national minister Bheki Cele, who controls the South African Police Service. If he won’t take action himself, he, as head of SAPS, must be compelled to allocate the resources this province needs.”

“The opposition in the province has come out against our intergovernmental dispute, saying that the problem can be solved by re-directing the available resources. While moving resources to where they are most needed is a valuable first step, and one which we have proposed previously, we must take our heads out of the sand and acknowledge that crime is out of control across the province, and we simply do not have enough officers on the ground,” Premier Winde said.

“We understand that resources require funding, which is why we have volunteered to fund the revival of a police reservist program in the Western Cape and offered the time of government officials to assist with administrative tasks like Commissioner of Oaths duties, in order to free up valuable police personnel in stations to do police work. But Minister Cele has ignored these offers of assistance,” Premier Winde said.

“People are being killed. Families are losing breadwinners and children. All of this while gangsters and other violent criminals go unpunished.”

“We have set a meeting date to engage Minister Cele on our intergovernmental dispute with him on police under-resourcing in our province, and we hope he finally shows up, for us and for all the residents of our province," Premier Winde said.

Cape Argus