Minister of Police Bheki Cele. Picture: Parliament of RSA

Cape Town - Police Minister Bheki Cele on Thursday said no heads would roll at SAPS after the increase in violent crime shown in statistics for 2018-19 financial year.

Instead, the heads would shift and reverse the situation, said Cele, who had last year promised to crack the whip.

According to the statistics released in Parliament on Thursday, there were 21 022 murders, up 686 from the previous financial year.

“The worst thing we can do is to begin to stagnate and then begin to reverse. That’s why I made that point. We have halved the figure from 1 320 to 686,” Cele said.

He was adamant that SAPS was not where it wanted to be, but was equally not where it was last year. “So we believe we have stagnated. Ours now is to reverse,.”

Cele also said cash-in-transit heists and truckjackings had decreased in the year under review. “It is interesting that nobody speaks on cash heists anymore,” he said. “I think we need to look at it broader and say: ‘Yes, team, you are not as good as we want you to be, but you are not as bad as you were’ From our side, as a ministry, we do not see a reason that (heads) must roll now.”

Briefing the police portfolio committee, Major-General Norman Sekhukhune said contact crimes had increased overall by 2.6%. Sexual offences increased by 4.6%, attempted murder 4.1%, assault with intention to do grievous bodily harm, 2.2%, common assault 3.7%, common robbery 2% and robbery with aggravating circumstances by 1.2%.

The number of robberies at residential premises comprised 1.8% in the category of crimes falling under aggravated robberies. “These have all decreased, with the exception of robbery at residential premises,” he said.

Property-related crimes also decreased, but stock theft increased with 823 cases more, translating to 2.9%.

“It has been there for the past three years. It has been increasing across all nine provinces,” he said, adding that they needed to focus more on it.

Sekhukhune also said the SAPS retrieved 1822 fewer firearms and ammunition and detected a drop in drug-related crimes. “The margin of decrease might be (due to the) change in legislation which normalised possession of dagga for personal use,” he said.

Sekhukhune noted that all provinces recorded increases in contact crimes with KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Gauteng recording more cases.

“This might be an indication of the people available, not necessarily the intensity of crimes. There are more people available in the four provinces that are potential victims of crimes rather than crimes that are committed,” he said.

While the crime statistics weren’t looking good, they looked much better than last year, Cele remarked in addressing the six-year increase in most crime categories.

“All categories of crime under aggravated robbery decreased, except for robbery at residential premises, where we registered an increase of 0.8%.

“While we are not where we want to be, we are definitely not where we were, there are glimmers of improvements. We have recorded decreases in crimes of fear such as cash-in-transit heists, bank robberies, car and truck hijackings as well as robbery at non-residential premises.”

He said SAPS would spread the focus and resources to areas of concern to ensure that results were improved.

Cele said they would put in place new methods to fight crime and look (at) things done properly in the past

“We are very sure that we will be achieving a reversal of the situation.”

Political Bureau