Police Minister Bheki Cele, on a tour of the Mitchells Plain base camp, gave figures for arrests since the army’s deployment but couldn't explain the high murder rate. Picture: Sisonke Mlamla/Cape Argus

Cape Town - The weekend murder rate has declined from 47 last weekend, to 34 reported murders in the metro region over the past weekend, Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said.

Of these, 21 deaths were as a result of shootings, six as a result of stabbings, and seven as a result of other means.

“We are relieved to see the number of murders declined over the weekend, however, this is of little comfort when 34 families are currently grieving the loss of a loved one. We must be working towards zero, and nothing more,” Winde said.

“This week, the Western Cape provincial cabinet will be meeting, and safety is once again high on the agenda. We will receive a report from the South African Police Services on crime and safety operations and the use of the SANDF Army. 

“We want to understand what the police, working with the army, are doing to prevent crime and curb violence. Minister of Police Bheki Cele has to date offered nothing but cold comfort to our communities. Due to the poor management of SAPS, they have lost control of the fight against crime,” he added.

According to Winde, five people were murdered in Delft and four in Gugulethu. Three murders each were recorded in Manenberg and Philippi. Khayelitsha and Langa recorded two murders each. The remainder of the murders were committed in Athlone, Kraaifontein, Lwandle, Grabouw, Somerset West, Mfuleni, Mitchell’s Plain, Nyanga, Parow, Philippi East, Steenberg, Lingelethu and Samora Machel.

“We are hearing community members on the ground, who were initially positive about the deployment of the army, starting to question their effectiveness, and if communities do not feel safer, then the SANDF and the police are not fulfilling their role and their mandate. The national police’s own motto is to ensure that residents 'feel safe', and we are a far cry from that,” the premier said.

Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said: “While I welcome the decrease in murder statistics as compared to previous weekends, it should be noted that murder figures remain high and that the murder of one is the murder of one too many.

“I call on the communities and stakeholders, including neighbourhood watches, farm watches, community policing forums and private security companies to continue in their efforts to safeguard their communities. In this regard, I welcome the appointments made to the newly established Strand Community Safety Forum this Saturday. This CSF will provide the necessary mediation in cases of civil unrest, particularly as they affect issues of safety on the N2.”

African News Agency (ANA)