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By Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Digital Deputy News Editor

Govt will never conquer crime without willing cooperation of the nation

It is only by partnering with law-abiding citizens that SA may stand a chance of reducing this endemic criminality.

Minister Bheki Cele has confirmed another deadly quarter in SA. According to SA Police Service crime statistics, 6 424 people were murdered during the first quarter of 2022 – this is an increase of 664 people (seven more deaths every day) over the same period in 2021.

The latest figures prove that Saps is overrun by violent crime. Instead of communicating with the public in the traditional top-down manner, wherein citizens are neither served nor consulted by the police, the government may perhaps consider the sensible and workable suggestions of Annah Moyo-Kupeta, the executive director of the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, who made these comments around the latest statistics:

  • Increased gun violence highlights the need to address poor policing.
  • South Africa is a violent society and this is shown in the violent crimes that are increasing, and we should be looking at multiple strategies to address this issue.
  • We need to look at the normalisation of violence in the country, which can be largely attributed to the increase in violent crimes.
  • We need to tap into why we are so violent, and address some of the root causes for violence in the country.
  • Our gun laws are not really the problem because there is still accessibility of unlicensed firearms and these are used in most criminal activities and the crimes in SA. Tightening gun laws alone will not help us solve the proliferation of unlicensed firearms in communities; there is a need to start doing some form of seizure of these unlicensed firearms.

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There is a need to leverage police visibility in communities towards ensuring that illegal firearms are taken away.

Statistics have shown that some crimes are committed with AK-47s and that many of the guns used to commit crime had gone missing from Saps and SA National Defence Force depots.

Civil rights group Safe Citizen believes that crime is clearly out of control and it is indisputable that millions of citizens live in fear of becoming a victim of violent crime. The police need to open community dialogue at multiple levels, and honestly ask the public for help.

It is only by partnering with law-abiding citizens that SA may stand a chance of reducing this endemic criminality.

Presently, the public feel as if they are set apart from the police and there is a well-founded lack of faith in the ability of Saps to do its job. Community policing forums need a drastic overhaul and proper funding if they are to attract members of the community to play an active and positive role.

The uniform of a police officer should symbolise trust and safety and only an effective police force will give effect to the Saps motto of “serve and protect”.

ALSO READ: SA crime stats: Decrease in rape, but ‘worrisome’ increase in murders

If we expect the public to respect the law, then our elected leaders must set the example in their own conduct and Saps and the Civilian Secretariat for Police Service ought to urgently implement a meaningful communications strategy with powerful role players at national level, simultaneously moving at community level to build trust and cooperation.

The government will never conquer crime without the willing cooperation of the nation.

Deal founded Treasure Karoo Action Group in 2011, and still serves as CEO. He has been influential in creating Safe Citizen.

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