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By Marizka Coetzer


Murder rate drop not ‘statistically significant’

A crimonologist says the reduction in certain crimes – revealed by minister Bheki Cele – was not statistically significant.

Following the release of South Africa’s latest crime statistics, experts say the drop in the murder rate was so insignificant that there was no reason to celebrate.

Minister of Police Bheki Cele said there was a decrease in the country’s murder figures for a second consecutive quarter. Yesterday he released the second-quarter statistics, from 1 July to 30 September.

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During this period, 6 945 murders were reported and 13 090 people were sexually assaulted. Criminologist Prof Jaco Barkhuizen said the reduction in certain crimes wasn’t statistically significant.

“Yes, murder is down, but not significantly. Sexual assault and rape looks the same. Remember this is a report of incorrectly captured statistics,” he said.

Someone you know

“Every statistic they talk about is someone’s father, mother, brother, sister or child. There is nothing to be happy about.” Action Society founder Ian Cameron said it was as if Cele spoke of murdered South Africans like collateral damage in a board game – in a nonchalant way.

“There’s nothing that stands out as a real decrease, everything looks the same, the decreases were minuscule and don’t show any downward trend,” he said.

AfriForum’s Jacques Broodryk said while crime in SA paralyses the economy and harasses residents daily, the police were also left with a shortage of nearly 8 000 detectives and no real plan to deal with the situation.

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“Police reservists have decreased significantly from 52 000 in 2011-2012 to just over 3 500 currently,” he said. Broodryk said police weren’t making any effort to re-enlist those volunteers.

Cele said there was a 3.1% drop in murders reported between May and July and a 0.8% drop in the number of people killed between July and September.

‘No victory’

“The second consecutive drop in the country’s murder figures is in no way a claim of any victory by the police. While there are green shoots, one murder is one too many,” he said.

Cele said Operation Shanela was in its sixth month and had led to the arrest of over 226 000 suspects, including some of the most wanted and dangerous criminals.

“While the crime figures for July to September show an increase in contact crimes, the drop in sexual offences, trio crimes [hijackings, house robberies and business robberies], contactrelated and property-related crimes and other serious crimes, is encouraging,” he said.

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“Despite the overall drop in the country’s murder rate, between July and September this year, 6 945 people were murdered in South Africa.

Out of the people killed during this reporting period, 881 were women and 293 were children, 35 police officers were killed on and off duty between July and September 2023, as well as 19 law enforcement officers attached to national, provincial and local government, as well as private security,” he added.

Cele said KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo reported double-digit percentage decreases in their murder rates while the Eastern and Northern Cape recorded slight drops in murder incidents.

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