Getting its teeth stuck into the heart of our crime problem, the DA has quizzed Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula on cannibalism.

DA MP Ryno King, in a written question to parliament, asked how many people had been arrested for cannibalism in the last 12 years.

King asked if any of those detained had been sent for mental evaluation.

Careful not to jump from the frying pan into the fire after his recent call for crime-whingers to take a hike abroad, Nqakula said cannibalism was not a crime under SA law.

"The information required, if any exists, would therefore not have been captured on the SA Police Service's crime information system," he said. His spokesman, Trevor Bloem, was quick to point out that although there was no such crime as cannibalism in South Africa, there were other laws that prevented people from eating each other.

He said while it was difficult to eat somebody without killing them, in which case they would be charged with murder, it was also a crime to mutilate a corpse or be in possession of human tissue.

"And depending on the circumstances, a person could be charged for desecrating a grave."

However, the DA, sensing blood, refused to be thrown off the trail.

Fellow MP Juanita Terblanche asked Nqakula how many people had been arrested and convicted for hunting and murdering witches in South Africa.

But determined not to fall under her whip's spell, Nqakula side-stepped the question, stating that the information was not immediately available.

Such information could only be produced after a lengthy process via the Systems Management component, the minister said.

Nqakula had earlier expressed irritation with "vexatious questions" from the opposition.