Minister of Police, General Bheki Cele (MP) releases the National Crime Statistics for the first quarter of 2020/2021 on Friday afternoon.
By Bathandwa Magqaza
This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 8 of VARSITY News.
On July 31 st , Minister Bheki Cele publicly announced the country’s crime statistics, with the
stated fundamental purpose to “ensure that the people of South Africa are and feel safe”.
However, with numerous predicaments in the form of atrocities at our disposal, many South
Africans feel that it will require more than just public announcements to achieve this purpose.
The Minister touched on a variety of crime issues that are of major concern to the citizens of
South Africa. In an apparent attempt to ignite a sense of optimism, Cele stated, “…going
forward the crime statistics will be released quarterly. We certainly believe that the new
approach will allow for timeous intervention measures aimed at crime reduction”. This could
indeed be a great intervention because “crime statistics are an important link in the value
chain of the statistics system which informs policy direction in the criminal justice system”.
Despite not being where we would like to be, there has been a slowdown in the increase of
violent crimes, particularly contact crimes like murder. In 2017/18 the case difference was 1
320, in 2019/20 it drastically decreased to 303 cases.
A serious crime to the rural economy – stock theft which is an aspect the government
deployed intervention measures to – decreased by 4.2%.
A pivotal category in liberal democracies, like private property related crimes, also achieved
a significant decrease. Robbery at residential properties decreased by 5.8%.
Regarding sexual offenses, more than 42 289 people were raped in South Africa during the
2019/20 financial year – an increase of 706. “This category of crime has terrorized most
households and communities as most of these crimes happen behind closed doors and are
only publicized when the offence has been committed and, in most cases, when victims of crimes are no more”, said Cele. In response to this atrocity the minister urged, “awareness
campaigns on GBV and femicide to be intensified”. Public discourse, however, has
increasingly demanded a reinstatement of the death penalty.