Picture: Dylan Jacobs/ African News Agency (ANA)
In July, Police Minister Bheki Cele delivered his budget vote speech and revealed that the amount set aside for the operations of the country’s police force was R97.5 billion.

He estimated the budget for the 2020/21 financial period at R104.3bn.

In his address to Parliament, Cele noted that the SAPS worked in a highly contested territory not only in SA, but across the borders.

He added that so often police officers were expected to operate in densely populated areas where there were no roads, no street addresses, no street lights and no street cameras.

Cele also said the reduction of crimes - such as house and business robberies and hijacking - could not be tackled by the police alone, but required an integrated approach invol-ving communities and government.

What has become clear from the crime statistics is that plenty of work beckons. The number of sexual offences committed from April 2018 to March 2019 was 52420, while the murder rate had increased by 3.4% compared to the previous period.

The injustices meted out against this country’s children are shattering. Up to 1014 children were murdered in the country over the past year.

It is unfathomable how the lives of children, innocent babies, have been ended abruptly despite their rights being enshrined in the Constitution.

Up to 60% of murders are said to occur on weekends, between 9pm and 3am, and that guns and knives are the most used weapons.

We simply can’t go on like this.

At this point, we cannot focus our entire attention on numbers. This is not a numbers game to see which provinces have outnumbered the other, or which members of society, either women or children, are the most hunted by criminal predators.

We all need to declare war against crime on every street, every community, every sector. We simply cannot rely on the police alone.

It starts with the simple man reporting the theft of street lights to ensure that no one is robbed in a dark area.

It also speaks of communities not clogging up streets to allow the police to respond speedily. It also starts with that relative preventing a little girl or woman from being sexually assaulted, and reporting the family member behind the crime to the police.

When it comes to tackling crime, united we stand, divided we fall.