South Africa

SA’s police continue to struggle – criminologist

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South Africa’s latest crime statistics show an increase in murders with as many as 86 people killed daily, with sexual offences and rape incidents decreasing slightly.

Yesterday, Police Minister Bheki Cele said 32 229 suspects were arrested for common assault and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, 4 882 were arrested for murder and attempted murder and 4 783 were held for sexual offences-related crimes such as rape and attempted rape.

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Meanwhile, 6 383 people were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, while 3 747 suspects were held for dealing in drugs, 16 942 were arrested for drug possession and 2 581 were arrested for possessing illegal and prohibited firearms and ammunition.

These figures were for the third quarter of the financial year, from 1 October, 2023 to 31 December, 2023. Cele said 7 710 people were murdered, a 2.1% increase compared with the same period in 2022.

“It is disturbing and concerning that the number of people murdered increased by 2.1% leading to 155 more people murdered compared with the same period.

KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Free State must be singled out and commended for being able to register a reduction in the number of people murdered during this period,” he said.

Cele said most of the top 30 stations where the most murders were reported included the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and Eastern Cape.

He said arguments, misunderstandings and provocation remained the top factors, leading to 1 116 murders committed there.

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“A total of 268 gang-related murders was reported, of which 250 were reported in the Western Cape; 431 murders were linked to vigilantism and mob justice attacks, with Gauteng registering the highest incidents with 84, followed by the Eastern Cape with 80 incidents and KwaZulu-Natal with 78,” he said.

Cele said rape incidents dipped by 1.7% with 4 264 suspects arrested for gender-based violence and femicide-related crimes such as rape and sexual assault.

In this period, there were 46 cash-in-transit robberies, which was 11 fewer than in the previous crime reporting period.

Cele said 22 police officers were killed during this period, of which 10 were killed on duty while 12 were killed off-duty.

Action Society founder Ian Cameron said it was horrific that Cele had announced that 86 people were being killed daily.

“South Africa is an absolute bloodbath and it’s clear the state has lost the control it once had regarding crime,” he said.

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Cameron encouraged communities to lawfully arm themselves and train, mobilise and organise themselves into community safety structures to protect themselves.

“It is clear the state has abandoned South Africans in the fight against crime,” he said.

Rural criminologist Dr Witness Maluleke said the latest crime statistics were still worrying since violent crimes continued increasing.

“It indicates clearly that the South African Police Service continues to struggle to reduce disturbing crimes to acceptable levels as the criminals are winning the never-ending crime war,” said Maluleke.