Johannesburg – More than 7 000 people were murdered in South Africa in just three months, Police Minister General Bheki Cele revealed in the second quarter crime stats he released Wednesday.
The stats show that 7 004 people were murdered in the second quarter of the 2022/2023 financial year – 841 more compared to the same period last year – a staggering increase of 13,6%.
Violence aimed mostly at women was on the rise between July and September.
“Over ten thousand women, men, and children were raped in SA, majority of rape survivors are women,” Cele said.
He said 10 590 rape cases were opened with the SA Police Service (SAPS).
“The rate at which women are abused, violated and some killed in South Africa remains worrying and unacceptable; many are killed by the people they know, people they love and trust,” said Cele.
“As we edge closer to commemorating the commencement of the global 16 days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign on the 25th of November, the reality is women continue to be victims of violent crimes in South Africa.
“In the three months of reporting, a double-digit percentage increase was recorded for murder, attempted murder, and assault GBH [grievous bodily harm] against women.”
Women, girls, and children were attacked in all kinds of places including their homes, daycare centres, schools, and on public transport.
Buses, taxis, trains, and other modes of public transport were the third most likely places of occurrence for rape incidents.
In the three months of reporting, 83 rapes took place in primary, secondary, and high schools.
Some of the rapes also took place inside daycare centres, tertiary institutions, and schools that care for children with special needs.
The police minister said teams from the SAPS and the National Prosecuting Authority are working together with agility and have, to date, processed 17 410 court ready Gender Based Violence and Femicide cases.
This is an increase of over five thousand cases since the last crime statistics were released in August.
The stats released indicate that carjacking, robbery, and rape remain the three top motives for kidnapping.
The only glimmer of hope in the fight against crime was that Cele said the DNA backlog at all SAPS laboratories was decreasing with each day, due to the strong interventions in place at forensic service labs countrywide.
Cele said fighting crime has also come at a cost for members of the SAPS across the country.
He said 22 police officers were killed during July to September 2022, “this is two members less compared to the same reporting period last year”.
Cele added: “‘It is on this note that this Ministry will never stop calling on SAPS members to defend themselves at all times from ruthless criminals whenever they are under attack”.
Reacting to the rising crime levels, Action Society said the crime stats show the “bloodiest year in two decades”.
Putting the blame squarely on political interference and mismanagement of SAPS, Ian Cameron, Director of Community Safety at Action Society said: “The Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, can continue trying to blame the crime situation on everything but himself, but you cannot win the Durban July with a donkey”.
“The statistics paint a picture of a police ministry failing its primary task. And, it is a direct result of political interference and mismanagement of the police.”
“Action Society can attest to the failure of the police by the number of requests for support in murder, assault and sexual offences we receive.
Cameron said South Africa now faces 78 murders per day, up from 71 between April and June.
“In the country, 118 people are raped per day, up from 106 per day during the first quarter. That is five rapes per hour,” Cameron said.
“The SAPS management must be restructured and replaced if we want to see any improvement.
“The SAPS needs an entire strategic refocus, and that will not happen with Cele and the rest of his management at the helm.”
Action Society said it wants to reiterate its plan to eradicate crime which includes:
- 1. Do a skills audit in the SAPS to determine the merit of appointments and sack members not appointed on merit.
- 2. Polygraph all members – starting with leadership – to determine whether they have been involved in any corrupt activities; if so, sack them.
- 3. Restore crime intelligence capabilities.
- 4. Reinstate specialised units that can effectively deal with serious violent crime without living in the community where they work.
- 5. Crime kingpins, including those with state connections, must be targeted and taken out of operation.
- 6. Restore reservist capabilities, specifically to support specialised units. It is of utmost importance that these reservists do not come from the said communities for intimidation to be limited.
- 7. Pay police members properly.
- 8. Implement police devolution in the Western Cape as a proof of concept.