Johannesburg - The murder rate in South Africa has increased by 3.4% between January and March this year.
This was revealed by Police Minister Bheki Cele during the release of the Q4 crime statistics yesterday.
“This is the lowest single-digit decrease recorded, compared to the previous three quarters. Though it is a decrease, these are not just figures but human lives that should be protected at all costs. This is why these figures prompt us as the police to double-up policing efforts to decrease contact crimes,” said Cele.
According to Cele, 6 289 people were killed with either a firearm, knife, sharp and blunt instruments, stone, or even bare hands during this period.
Cele said that the majority of the killings took place in KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape and Gauteng, with arguments, vigilantism, and robberies topping the motive list for murder.
“KZN also reported the highest figures of multiple-murder cases, followed by the Eastern Cape with 206 and 155 victims, respectively.
“The Free State, Northern Cape, and Western Cape recorded decreases in murder figures, with both the Western and Northern Cape reporting double-digit decreases in murder cases,” said Cele.
According to the DA’s Marina van Zyl, these crime statistics released by the SAPS revealed that little has been achieved in keeping learners safe from violent crime.
Between January and March this year, eight murders, 14 attempted murders, and 84 rapes occurred on the premises of educational facilities, including day-care centres and universities. There have been 238 incidents of assault and grievous bodily harm (GBH).
“Given the high rate of gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) in SA (969 women and 245 children were murdered in the fourth quarter), education facilities should be safe havens for learners and staff, not crime scenes,” said Van Zyl.
She said that the party would submit Parliamentary questions to determine how many of these heinous incidents involved learners, teachers, and staff, as well as the measures the Department of Basic Education has put in place to ensure the safety and security of all on school premises.
The fight against GBV continued, with more than 10 500 rape cases reported in the last three months. The minister said that 4 768 of the rape incidents took place at the home of the victim or the perpetrator. Cele, however, did say that the reported rape cases have shown decreases for the period, with six provinces reporting fewer incidents.
“The declines in rape cases are attributed, among other things, to the SAPS upscaling its operations to trace GBV perpetrators, arresting serial sex offenders and rapists, and ongoing men’s dialogues with communities,” said Cele.
He said that between January and March, fewer children were killed compared with the same period last year.
“Child murders decreased by almost 20% (19.9%), and a slight decrease was also noted in GBH assault cases of children,” added Cele. He further pointed out that 29 more children were victims of attempted murder compared with the same period last year.
ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba said the deteriorating crime statistics highlighted how the country was further sliding into a gangster state and the need for urgent policy and leadership reform to turn the situation around.
“President Cyril Ramaphosa’s refusal to recognise how abysmal Cele’s reign has been is further evidence that he is incapable of making the right decisions to fix SA. Rampahosa should have fired the police minister years ago and definitely should do so today,” said Mashaba.
He said that there needed to be urgent policy reform, and attention was needed to intervene at the SAPS, partnering with civil society, to restore the rule of law and bring safety to communities.
THE DA in Gauteng is demanding that the Gauteng Department of Education review the school safety strategy to ensure the safety of pupils and teachers inside and outside school premises.
This follows the increasing number of incidents of violence against and murder of teachers and pupils across the province. Last week, 17-year-old Palesa Malatji, a pupil from Ntsako Secondary School in Soshanguve, was brutally raped and murdered near the school.
“Gauteng schools are no longer safe places for learners, which clearly indicates that the current safety strategy is not working and must be reviewed,” the DA’s Khume Ramulifho said.
Ramulifho said the DA has been calling on the department to review the school safety strategy and implement an integrated safety plan. In addition, the DA has been requesting that the Department of Community Safety intensify police visibility in communities.
“The DA demands that the Department of Education and
Community Safety urgently implement an integrated safety strategy to curb crime in and around schools across the province,” Ramulifho said.
According to the DA, this strategy must involve all the stakeholders dealing with crime issues, and target schools in areas where there are high incidents of bullying and gangsterism.
“The DA extends its deepest condolences to the family, relatives and friends of Malatji. We will continue to follow up on this case to ensure justice for Malatji and fight for the safety of all Gauteng learners and teachers,” Ramulifho said.