The third quarter of the 2020-2021 financial year saw an increase in the targeting of delivery vans and trucks as well as an increase in rape, murder and cash-in-transit (CIT) heists.
This is according to Police Minister General Bheki Cele who presented the quarterly crime statistics on Friday, reflecting crimes that occurred between 1 October 2020 and 31 December 2020.
“The national crime statistics from October to December 2020 do not paint a good picture, and hence force us as the Saps to dig deep and put the shoulder to the wheel.”
Cele explained that in truck and courier van robberies, the majority of the vehicles were targeted for their cargo, which usually consisted of items such as food, appliances and other pricey goods.
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Cele also declared that the South African Police Service (Saps) needs to change its response to cash-in-transit robberies.
“The current plan in place now is clearly not working. There were 26 more attacks on cash vans in the third quarter of 2020-2021 financial years,” said Cele.
Addressing the national police commissioner, Cele further stated that the police service must go back to the drawing board and work with speed if they are to “win against these thugs.”
He announced that the police department would soon meet with the CEO of the CIT industry to work out a new approach to combat this crime.
Latest crime stats by numbers
Between October to December 2020, a 6.6 % increase in murder was recorded.
“This means 389 more people were killed compared to the corresponding period in the previous financial year.”
Mpumalanga province recorded the highest increase of 13.7% when compared to the corresponding period in the previous financial year while Limpopo, North West and Northern Cape provinces recorded a decline in their murder cases.
193 of the murders were as a result of domestic violence.
Arguments, robberies at a household and businesses, mob justice incidents and gang-related killings were among the primary causes for the deaths recorded in this period.
“A total of 2481 people were murdered in public places like on the street, open field, parking areas and abandoned buildings. 1643 murders occurred at the home of the victim or of the perpetrator.”
Liquor outlets were the third most likely place to be killed in South Africa between October to December 2020
Despite all these stats, however, police recorded a 1.4% decrease in contact crimes committed against a person.
According to Cele, a 5% increase in sexual offences detected as a result of police action were recorded during this three-month period.
As per police stats, 12,218 people were raped between October and December last year.
This is an increase of 181 cases, amounting to a 1.5% increase compared to the previous reporting period.
“Over 4900 of the rape incidents took place at the home of the victim or the home of the rapist. 570 were domestic violence related and 547 of rape cases in this category, involved female victims and 23 were males.”
Inanda, Umlazi in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape’s Lusikisiki police stations recorded the highest incidents of rape.
Cele took the opportunity to rubbish reports of shortages of rape kits in police stations.
“Allow me to take this opportunity to assure the nation that there is no shortage of evidence collection kits, also known as rape kits in all police stations across the country.
“A three-year contract entered into with a supplier in 2019 to provide these essential kits, is still in place.”
The minister added that availability of the rape kits in all provinces is confirmed on a weekly basis and replenishment is done as per the station’s request.
“So the statement by the EFF calling for my head due to what it terms a shortage of rape kits in 76% of police stations since July 2020, is false and downright misleading.”
Cele reiterated that GBV and Femicide remain a priority crime for the police.
“We are on a daily basis, improving our services and responses, at station level. As the Saps we are motivated that numerous life sentences have been handed down for crimes committed against women and children.”
During the three-month period in question, Cele says police secured 129 life sentences.
According to Saps stats, 19 people were killed in 18 incidents of murder which occurred in farms and smallholdings between October to December 2020.
“While most of the people died in the hands of criminals, unfortunately, some of those were killed by farm owners or farm managers.”
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All property-related crimes decreased by 15.8%.
Stock theft – which has been problematic over the last couple of years according to Cele – also recorded a decrease of 6.9%
Burglary at residential and non-residential premises declined drastically.
Theft of vehicles and motorcycles also declined by over 20%
“Assault figures show that violence stalks our society and in many cases the violence is aggravated by alcohol abuse,” said Cele.
50,124 cases of assault were opened with the police in the three months of reporting.
The noticeable areas of occurrence of these assaults are at the home of the victim or perpetrator, public places and liquor outlets.
Described as “the crimes feared most by South Africans”, trio crimes unfortunately increased in the last quarter.
Aggravated robberies, such as carjacking increased by 7%, while there were 77 more residential robberies.
Business owners were able to rest easier, however, as there were 374 less businesses robbed during this time.
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Covid-19’s impact on policing
To date, over 27,000 members of the police force have been infected with Covid-19 and 570 lives have been lost.
“It is indeed painful to see our members succumb to this unforgiving virus. At the same time, we remain encouraged that over 25,000 of our members have recovered and are back at work, serving their communities.”
Cele concluded his presentation by expressing concern about provinces such as Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State and the Western Cape, which recorded over 10% increases in the crime of murder.
“These stats show, [that these provinces] are regressing in their fight against crime.”
The Eastern Cape, on the other hand, has shown a significant improvement in this regard.
“As the police ministry and police management, we have taken a decision to have operational oversight in the four provinces and monitor them closely. We expect a turn around plan to be adopted and executed urgently and effectively. Failure to do so must result in consequences.”