Minister of Police Bheki Cele Picture: GCIS
Minister of Police Bheki Cele Picture: GCIS

Cele worried by surge in number of murders since the alcohol ban was lifted

By IOL reporter Time of article published Jun 10, 2020

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Cape Town – Police Minister Bheki Cele is concerned by the surge in the number of murders since the alcohol ban was lifted under level 3 last week.

Cele expressed his concerns on Tuesday while visiting the Jabulani Hostel in Soweto after six men were shot and killed on Monday evening, reported. Police are searching for three men believed to be linked to the crime.

Cele highlighted the death of two women who were recently murdered in Cape Town and Johannesburg. 

A 34-year-old suspect is expected to appear in the Mossel Bay Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday after Naledi Phangindawo, 25, was allegedly hacked to death. 

In Soweto, a pregnant Tshegofatso Pule, 28, was on Monday found hanging from a tree, with stab wounds, in Roodepoort, where she went missing on Thursday.

"Monday – the 1st of June – which is not an entirely dangerous day, for the first time since the lockdown, we got reports of 40 people killed. The next day there were 51 (murders) and there were 69 this past Sunday,” Cele said.

In previous months, police were averaging between 20 and 30 murder cases a day.

“That has now just gone up, including attempted murder, including the abuse of women and violence against women,” he said.

Commenting on the brutal deaths of the two women, Cele said: “It’s an issue that we raise as police and law enforcement that (perpetrators) of crime are well known to the victims. 

"By the look of things, both these ladies were killed by people known to them. I’m not confirming that, the investigations are ongoing."

He emphasised it was difficult for law enforcement to curb domestic violence, because police could not monitor people’s behavior in their homes.

“Unfortunately, in those situations, we react. But it’s a question, we agree, we need to take up. We need to work very closely with all other structures and monitor closely gender-based violence, as cases can be brutal as we have seen with the two ladies,” Cele said.

He pleaded with men, communities and families to report suspiciously abusive relationships. He said this would ensure the police were proactive in responding in their action. 

Meanwhile, Western Cape Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said the province has seen an increase in the number of alcohol-related trauma cases since the unbanning of alcohol.

“This is extremely concerning as the healthcare system is already under pressure as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

“I want to be very clear,  the abuse of alcohol takes beds away from people who need it during this difficult time. This could be a family member or loved one who needs this bed. 

"That is why every single one of us has a role to play to make a difference. So, please, please drink responsibly. If this doesn’t happen, we will explore alternative steps to ensure that this happens,” Fritz said.


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