Murder and sexual offences spike sharply as police minister reveals extent of SA criminality
Once again, the 2022/23 third-quarter police crime statistics paint a bleak picture of the country’s rising crime rate.
Murders and sexual offences show little sign of abating, according to quarterly crime statistics reflecting on crimes reported and committed in South Africa from 1 October 2022 to 31 December 2022.
Police Minister Bheki Cele reported during a media briefing on Friday that 551 more murders were recorded since the prior quarter.
Cele said while the crime figures released don’t paint an overall positive picture, they do show that police are pushing back on criminality through visible policing and disruptive operations, he added.
The Police Recorded Crime Statistics report for the third quarter of 2022/23, showed that between October and the end of December 2022, 7,555 murders were committed.
A total of 7,004 people were killed in the second quarter of the 2022/2023 financial year.
The statistics furthermore indicated that between October and December 2022:
- 3,144 people were killed by a firearm
- 2,498 people were killed with other weapons such as knives, sharp and blunt objects, bricks and in many cases bare hands.
Cele reiterated it is clear that a broader conversation must be had about what is at the heart of crime in the country. He further underlined that while gun violence is problematic it poses a serious threat to lives and livelihoods. In the past twelve months alone, police have permanently removed and destroyed 65,519 firearms.
Read more in Daily Maverick here: Hollow points – more than 3,000 gun murders in 3 months, but plans to tackle the problem miss critical targets
An analysis by Daily Maverick’s investigative journalist and author Caryn Dolley revealed police are still arming criminals despite ‘plans’ to stop the scourge.
Visit Daily Maverick’s home page for more news, analysis and investigations
On gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF), Cele indicated that police are sharpening their responses from an operational and legislative point of view.
The Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Act also referred to as the DNA Act will come into operation on 3 March, 2023. This Act, Cele explained, is a crucial weapon in the police’s arsenal of crime-fighting tools against GBVF, specifically with regard to the identification of offenders.
Crime committed against women and children between October to December 2022
- 4,992 suspects were arrested for GBVF-related crimes.
- 71 accused were handed down 89 life sentences.
- 219 accused were sentenced to between one and nine years’ imprisonment, culminating in a total of 1,079 years behind bars.
- 143 accused were sentenced to between 10 and 19 years’ imprisonment — a combined total of 2,063 years’ imprisonment.
- 67 other accused were collectively sentenced to 20 years and more for GBVF-related crimes.
To combat GBVF, the SAPS and NPA project has resulted in 25,599 prioritised GBVF-related court-ready cases, which have been successfully enrolled.
Rape remains of grave concern and an alarming total of 15,545 sexual assaults were reported, of which 5,935 rape incidents took place at the residence of the perpetrator or victim, or else at residences known by the victims or perpetrators, including those of family, friends and neighbours.
Cele has welcomed the sentencing of the convicted killer of eight-year-old Tazne Van Wyk, to nine life sentences and 259 and half years behind bars, for the gruesome murder and rape of the young girl.
“It remains a betrayal of humanity, to look away and ignore abuse and violence of anyone, let alone women, children and other vulnerable groups in society. Taking a video on your cell phone and sharing it on social media cannot be a normal response,” Cele said.
Regarding the DNA backlog, Cele emphasized that as of 16 February 2023, the number of cases sat at 1,600 — down from over 241,000, representing a 99.3% reduction in the country’s DNA backlog figures.
“We have completed the building and capacitation of the laboratory in Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape, which will drastically relieve pressure from the Western Cape laboratory going forward,” he said. DM