South Africa's crime stats: ‘It’s just getting worse’

Genevieve Quintal, News24

Johannesburg - On average 49 people are murdered in South Africa "each and every day", something that one would expect from a country at war, concerned politicians said on Tuesday.

"This is catastrophic" and "it's just getting worse", the Democratic Alliance said.

Political parties, including the ANC, are highly concerned about the increasing murder rate in the country and are agreed that there is a need to fight fiercely and aggressively to stop the killings.

The ANC's parliamentary chief whip Stone Sizani said although there had been significant achievements, the party was still concerned by the increase in contact crimes and contact-related crimes, such as murder, attempted murder and arson.

Building safer communities

"These stubborn forms of crime require concerted multipronged interventions, which must include joint efforts by all stakeholders, to radically turn the situation around," he said in a statement.

"Violent attacks against our people, including killings of police officers, must be fought fiercely and aggressively as part of our endeavours to build safer communities.

He said perpetrators of such crimes had to be "squeezed completely out" of society.

Sizani welcomed the police's continual work in fighting crime and also the decrease in property-related and other serious crimes.

According to the 2014/15 statistics, murder increased by 4.5%. Total contact crimes increased by 0.9%.

Police Minister Nathi Nhleko and national police commissioner Riah Phiyega presented the crime statistics to Parliament's portfolio committee on police on Tuesday morning.

The DA said it was concerned that the murder rate had gone up for a third consecutive year, all under the tenure of Phiyega.

"The increase revealed today [Tuesday] means that the murder rate is up to 17 805, which means 49 South Africans are murdered each and every day," DA MP Dianne Kohler-Barnard said in a statement.

"This number of deaths is what one would expect from a country at war. This is catastrophic."

Independent body must audit figures - DA

Although the statistics were put together in consultation with StatsSA, the DA wants them to be audited by an independent body with no ties to government.

This would go a long way to restore the public's confidence in the statistics, Kohler-Barnard said.
She said the statistics showed crime was getting worse.

"National government and the SAPS [South African Police Service] are failing in the fight against crime. But we do not need to accept crime as an inescapable reality in South Africa," Kohler-Barnard said.

The Congress of the People said South African would continue to suffer the consequences of crime. It said it was not confident that Nhleko would be able to reverse crime.

‘Fix the townships’

"South Africans, under the present circumstances, are petrified of break-ins and home robberies," Cope's national spokesperson Dennis Bloem said in a statement.

"Murder and attempted murder are dominant features in contact crimes. Furthermore, gangs remain intact and in business."

The task of building safer communities is urgent and government needed to implement chapter 12 of the National Development Plan to deal with it.

"Cope is adamant: Fix the townships and crime will start to fix itself.

"From listening to the report of the minister and the commissioner, it is clear that Nathi Nhleko is failing to provide the kind of leadership that SAPS needs. He is an apologist par excellence, not the doer the country needs."