Bheki Cele: Murders increase but South Africa registers a drop in assaults and sexual offences
There have been 800 fewer reported sexual offences in the country compared with the same period last year, said Police Minister Bheki Cele as he unpacked the first-quarter crime statistics in Tshwane.
While reported sexual offences have decreased, murder has increased by more than 600 cases, the minister confirmed at a media briefing on the latest crime statistics on Friday.
The statistics cover the first quarter of 2022/23 – between April and June. Cele pointed out that the figures were in comparison with the same period in 2021 when South Africa was still under Covid-19 lockdown levels 1 and 2.
The first quarter “shows decreases in total sexual offences such as rape, sexual assault, attempted sexual offences and contact sexual offences… this means there was a drop of over 800 cases of sexual offences that are far more often perpetrated on women,” he said.
Cele was joined by Deputy Minister Cassel Mathale, Police Commissioner General Fannie Masemola, the national head of the Hawks Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya, deputy national commissioners and provincial commissioners.
There were 6,424 people killed during the first quarter. “This is an increase of 664… compared to the same period last year, when the country was placed under Covid-19 lockdown levels 1 and 2,” the minister said.
The top five stations where murders were reported were uMlazi (KwaZulu-Natal), Plessislaer (KwaZulu-Natal) Mthatha (Eastern Cape), Inanda (KwaZulu Natal) and Delft (Western Cape).
The main causes remained arguments/misunderstandings followed by retaliations and revenge. Vigilantism was the third likely cause of murder.
Cele said there was a drop of more than 800 reported sexual offences, most of which were perpetrated against women.
There were 9,516 reported rape cases between April and June, 500 more than over the same period last year. Cele said that while rape cases declined in most provinces, the Northern Cape and North West recorded increases. He said 3,780 reported rapes occurred in the rapists’ or victims’ homes, while 1,546 people were raped in public places such as streets, parks and beaches.
Contact crimes, including assault and assault with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm (GBH), saw a 7% reduction in reported cases, with 2,205 fewer reported in the same time last year. This figure includes sexual offences, common robberies and common assault.
“All these combined decreases have resulted in a 1.5% drop in all contact crimes,” said Cele.
Praise for Mpumalanga
Cele praised Mpumalanga, led by its provincial commissioner, Lieutenant-General Daphney Manamela, for a “significant reduction” in a number of priority crimes. The province had recorded decreases in sexual offences, attempted murder, assault GBH, common assault, common robbery and robbery with aggravating circumstances. Cele highlighted:
- 2.5% decrease in murder;
- 9.7% drop in sexual offences;
- 23,4% decrease in carjackings; and
- 33.3% drop in cash-in-transit robberies.
“Mpumalanga province owes the reductions to high police visibility and intelligence-led operations in crime hotspots,” the minister said, adding: “We further encourage all provincial commissioners to continue to increase their efforts in crime prevention and crime-combating operations.”
Eighteen police officers were killed during the quarter. “Any attack on a police officer is an attack on the state and should be condemned from all quarters,” he said. DM
This is a developing story and will be updated with additional details.