By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
Photo Credit: GCIS.
The South African Police Service (SAPS) and Stats SA have published quarterly crime statistics for the third quarter of the 2020/21 period, covering criminal activity reported between October and December 2020.
Presenting the latest data, police minister Bheki Cele said that the numbers represent the crimes committed between level 1 and adjusted level 3 lockdown, which came into effect on 15 December.
He said that the statistics have exposed some of the gaps that exist in certain policing categories, as well as some of the policing shortcomings experienced in certain provinces.
"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."
One of the biggest points of concern is an increase in murders, Cele said, with stats showing a 6.6% rise over the reporting period.
This means 389 more people were killed compared to the corresponding period in the previous financial year.
Mpumalanga province recorded the highest increase (13.7%) when compared to the corresponding period in the previous financial year.
Limpopo, North West and Northern Cape provinces recorded a decline in murder cases, of which 193 cases involved domestic violence.
The top four causative factors of these deaths include arguments, robberies at a household and businesses, mob justice incidents and gang-related killings, Cele said.
A total of 2,481 people were murdered in public areas, namely in the street, in an open field or parking areas. Murders were also likely to occur at the home of the victim or perpetrator, and at liquor outlets.
- Contact crimes include murder, attempted murder and sexual offences, as well as common assault and robbery.
- Contact-related crimes include arson and malicious injury to property.
- Other serious crimes include commercial crime, shop-lifting and all other types of theft – while aggravated robbery includes hijackings, robbery at residences and cash-in-transit heists and bank robberies.
- Crimes detected as a result of police action cover crimes discovered by active policing, such as road-blocks and raids. Categories covered by this are the illegal possession of firearms, DUI or driving under the influence (of drugs or alcohol); and the use, possession or trade of illegal drugs.
Other key statistics include:
- A 5% increase was recorded for sexual offences detected as a result of police action. 12,218 people were raped between October and December last year – an increase of 181 cases, amounting to a 1.5% increase compared to the previous reporting period;
- Inanda in the Eastern Cape and Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape are the areas where most rapes where recorded;
- 18 incidents of murder occurred on farms and smallholdings.
- All property related crime decreased by 15.8% – this includes the theft of livestock, burglary and vehicles;
- 50,124 cases of assault were opened over the three-month period. Cele said this was largely driven by alcohol abuse;
- Aggravated robberies such as carjacking increased by 7%. A notable increase was reported in the hijacking of trucks, delivery drivers and couriers. There was also a 66% increase in cash-in-transit van hijackings;
- Residential robberies increased, while business robberies decreased compared to the same period last year;
Cele said 27 000 members contracted COVID-19, with 570 deaths. Over 25 000 police members have recovered and are back at work.
The minister also said he travelled to former president Jacob Zuma’s home in northern KwaZulu-Natal "to hear his concerns".
Cele revealed this during a question-and-answer session following his release of crime statistics on Friday.
The police minister had a three-hour-long meeting with Zuma at the former president’s Nkandla homestead on Thursday.
He would still not disclose exactly what was discussed but said there was nothing amiss about meeting the former president as he had not been arrested.
"I was in Nkandla. I didn’t drink tea, but water. I think that’s that," said Cele.