DA seeking clarity from Cele on 'discrepancies, confusing aspects of crime stats’
By IOL reporter and Siyabonga Mkhwanazi
Cape Town – Police have promised to visit each station to verify the facts after the latest crime statistics showed a decline in the murder of women and children.
DA police spokesperson Andrew Whitfield said on Friday the party would urgently write to Minister of Police Bheki Cele to provide clarity on several problematic and confusing aspects of the crime statistics for 2019/2020, which were released on Friday.
Head of the police crime register Lieutenant-General Norman Sekhukhune said the murder of women went down from 2 771 to 2 695. This was a decline of 76 murders or 2.7%.
But given the fact there has been a lockdown period over the last few months, Sekhukhune said, it has been difficult to verify some of the reported cases at police stations.
“Once the situation with Covid-19 improves, we will go and verify dockets and revise the crimes against women and children,” said Sekhukhune.
The murder of children declined from 1 014 murders in the previous financial year to 943. This meant there were 71 less murders of children.
Sekhukhune said 21 325 murders were recorded – an increase of 33 bodies (1.4%) more than in the previous financial year.
He said sexual offences have increased from 52 220 to 53 293. This was an increase of 873 sexual offences than in the previous financial year. He added that the rape of women increased from 41 583 to 42 289.
Whitfield said: “The overall number of rapes increased by 1.7% to 42 289 cases, but rapes against women and children decreased by 15.8% to 25 801 cases. These figures appear to indicate that 16 488 rape cases were against men.
“Does this mean that rape against men therefore accounts for almost 40% of all rapes,“ Whitfield asked.
“More worryingly, during the presentation, SAPS indicated these rape figures against women and children are 'not yet completed ' and are 'preliminary'.
“It raises serious questions about our fight against sexual crimes such as rape. Similarly, sexual assault increased by 4.2%, whilst sexual assault against women and children decreased by 7.7%.
“Minister Cele must account for these discrepancies and whether SAPS is using the stats to play political games in trying to paint a rosy picture with regards to gender-based violence.
“These crime statistics are an indictment on SAPS and specifically the minister who is more worried about alcohol and cigarettes than violent criminals. It is clear that the ANC government is failing to keep our communities safe.“
Whitfield added: “The crime stats once again indicate that the South African Police Service is losing the battle against most major crimes.
“The murder rate is, again, the highest it has been in 10 years, with an average of 58.4 murders per day in South Africa.
“Sexual offences increased by 1.7%, with sexual assault increasing by 4.2%. On average, 115.8 people are raped in South Africa every day. Contact crimes also increased by 0.7%.
“National Commissioner General Khehla Sitole also confirmed that incidents on farms increased from 41 to 46 and murders from 47 to 49. The DA welcomes the inclusion of farm attacks in the crime statistics, but calls on SAPS to accelerate the full implementation of the rural safety strategy.“
Cele warned of rising crime in the country after the crime statistics showed an increase in murders and rape of women and children.
He said gender-based violence, political killings and farm murders were some of the most stubborn crimes plaguing the country.
Cele said the police have recruited 312 new members to be trained specifically for gender violence. It is an inter-ministerial issue and the police are part of that, said Cele, who added the police have victim-friendly rooms to keep victims safe.
IOL and Political Bureau