Police close thousands of files due to insufficient evidence


Nearly 3,000 police investigations are closed daily due to insufficient evidence or files that are missing or stolen.

This is according to a calculation by the DA from figures that the party received in response to a parliamentary question to Bheki Cele, Minister of Police.

According to the figures, more than 5.4 million files have been closed since the 2018-19 financial year due to insufficient evidence and leads.

“This shocking figure highlights the lamentable failure of the police under the leadership of Cele,” says Andrew Whitfield, DA MP.

According to the figures, a total of 1,215,394 files were closed in 2018-19, 1,166,681 in the following financial year, 1,026,005 in the 2020-21 financial year, 969,211 in 2021-22 and 1,051,340 for the 2022-23 fiscal year.

According to this, Gauteng, for the period 2022-’23, closed the most files (331 965) due to a lack of proper evidence. The Western Cape follows with 217 701 dossiers, then KwaZulu-Natal with 177 415, the Eastern Cape with 86 767 dossiers, Limpopo with 59 965, Mpumalanga with 57 596, the Free State with 53 357, North West with 50 462 dossiers and the Northern Cape which closed 16 112 files.

For the same period, there were – according to the police’s figures – four provinces where files went missing: Gauteng (10), the Free State (7), KwaZulu-Natal (2) and the Western Cape (1). Two dossiers were also reported stolen in the Eastern Cape.

The latest figures have not yet been made public because the crime statistics up to 1 March 2024 were not yet known at the time the minister’s answers were drafted.

“With an average of more than a million cases per year, this means that almost 3,000 cases are closed by the police daily without victims of crime ever getting justice,” says Whitfield.

“Included in these 3,000 cases are gruesome murders, rapes of family members, brutal assaults and kidnappings.”

He also pointed out that these figures clearly show that the country’s police detectives are overloaded and overworked.

Whitfield also says Cele failed to equip detectives with the necessary training and equipment that would enable them to do their job properly.