‘Our children are slaughtered, one woman raped every 12 minutes in SA’

Henry

The announcement of the third quarter’s crime figures by the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, on Friday made it abundantly clear that South Africans are being let down by the government in their war on crime.

Ian Cameron, director of community safety at Action Society, says SA’ers are left to their own devices when it comes to safety and security.

“While the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, described the ‘high quality service that the police provide to all people of South Africa’ as ‘one of the best in the world’, the third quarter crime statistics revealed that there a woman is raped every 12 minutes in South Africa.

“Every day 86 people are killed and 88 cases of attempted murder are reported. Every day, 595 people are assaulted with the intention of causing serious injury. Yet only 622 murderers and 609 convicted sex offenders were sentenced for the entire quarter,” says Cameron.

He says Cele boasted that the historic DNA backlog of 251,000 in 2021‑’22 is now up to date.

“However, we know that this is untrue.

“Four-year-old Mia Botha went missing on 25 September 2022 – more than 500 days ago – from a playground near her home. She was found dead a day later at Nederburg in Paarl. No arrests have yet been made and the forensic investigation is still incomplete.

“Our children are also slaughtered. In the past year, 1,116 children were murdered and 1,501 children were victims of attempted murder. 25,196 children were seriously assaulted,” says Cameron.

He says if the current murder rate trend continues, at least 31,000 people will be killed in the next 12 months.

“The state has lost control. Communities must legally organize, mobilize, train and arm themselves.”

Makashule Gana, chief organizer of Rise Mzansi, says the most important responsibility of any government is to keep people safe, “and our government is failing us”.

“The crime statistics indicate that almost 8,000 people have been murdered in the last three months, with only 1,500 convictions.”

This is a frightening conviction rate of 19%. The homicide rate, against current trends, would result in nearly 10,000 more homicides compared to when Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa was first elected in 2018, when 21,022 cases of murder were recorded.

“What should also give all South Africans chills is that the police have recorded more than 15,000 cases of sexual offences, the vast majority of these victims being women.

“Pres. Ramaphosa and Bheki Cele, Minister of Police, must be removed on this basis alone,” says Gana.

However, Brett Herron, Secretary General and Member of Parliament of GOOD, says we should discuss crime prevention rather than the crime statistics.

“A number of abnormal conditions in South African society contribute to the excessive crime rate, including poverty and the relatively low percentage of criminals who are convicted of their crimes.

“But the questionable standard of policing and prosecution is not our biggest problem; it is the underdevelopment of our communities and people. The police have a relatively small role to play in crime prevention,” he says.

“It is the responsibility of other government departments, from human settlements to education, to social development, to promote communities and especially ensure the development of the youth.

“Although it is good that the Minister of Police regularly shares crime statistics with the public, the exercise does not have a direct impact on crime in terms of accountability. The management of crime in South Africa requires an urgent national discussion,” says Herron.