Johannesburg - Political parties have expressed grave concern over the first quarter crime stastics announced by Police Minister Bheki Cele, raising the alarm over the spiralling murder rate following the killing of 5 760 people in three months.
In shocking statistics, Cele revealed that in the period from April 1 to June 30 the 5 760 murdered people made for a 66.2 % increase in the country’s murder rate, a statistic that has left political parties worried.
Cele also said 10 000 women were raped during the same period.
Zandile Majozi, the IFP MP and its spokesperson on police, said that the increase in violent and contact crimes, together with the attacks on private property, vehicles, businesses, and individuals, was proof that the country’s police service was unable to keep South Africans safe.
“Contact crimes, such as murder, attempted murder, sexual offences, and all categories of assault, registered a 60.6% increase and these shocking numbers reflect a SAPS management in complete disarray, with police officers executing orders that have no real impact on the daily lives of our people.
“For 5 701 people to be killed within a three-month period cannot be considered normal, in any society. To compound matters, an additional 4 701 rape cases in our country clearly show that we need desperate and urgent intervention, both societal changes (social development), as well as new strategies for SAPS and all law enforcement agencies,” Majozi said.
Popcru spokesperson Richard Mamabolo said that they noted that during the period under review South Africa was ravaged by conditions of unrest, in which violent protests, looting and lawlessness were at their highest, and therefore played a contributory factor to the general rise in the reported statistics.
“It is for us noteworthy to consider that as compared to the quarter of the 2020/21 financial year having coincided with the level 5 lockdown, wherein movements were limited and a majority of businesses closed, it was bound to be the case that the then crime rate levels would be lower than normal as the implemented measures impacted on the causative factors of crime.
“This, however, was short-lived as households increasingly became desperate in pursuing their economic functions to economically sustain their livelihoods,” Mamabolo said.
He said that due to these constraints, partly by the effects of the pandemic, and the recently failed attempted insurrection that resulted in widespread looting and lawlessness, the current sporadic rise in crime statistics were to be expected.
“With these conditions yielding the current multiple increases in the crime statistics, with contact crime increasing by 60.6% and other serious crimes by 35.2%, while murder has increased by 66.2% increase of 5 760 people killed, with rape having increased by 4 201 cases, amounting to an increase of 72.4%, this should not simply be taken at face value, but with the seriousness of the possible vulnerabilities we all need to improve on,” Mamabolo said.
Zwelinzima Vavi, the general secretary of the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) lamented that there were thousands of unfilled police posts saying that there was a need to create new posts in order for the number of the police to correspond to the increasing population.
“The total police workforce is around 160 000 in the country. As witnessed only last month when an additional 25 000 SANDF troops were required in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng once widespread looting broke out, the current police force is incapable of combating crime.
“Even worse, victims of crime cannot find justice. Hence the conviction rate is dismally low. The conviction rate for sexual offences rose from a scandalous 3% in September 2020 to 7.8% today,” Vavi said.
Andrew Whitfield, the DA MP and party spokesperson on police, said that they remained concerned by the high levels of sexual violence and domestic abuse which continued to ravage communities, especially women and children.
“The DA remains concerned by the high levels of sexual violence and domestic abuse which continues to ravage communities, especially women and children. In the three months of reporting, more than 10 000 people were raped. 500 of the reported cases were connected to domestic violence incidents,” Whitfield said.