“The minister of police, Bheki Cele, can spin statistics all he wants, but it doesn’t change the reality that we are living in an absolute bloodbath in South Africa,” said Ian Cameron, director of community safety at Action Society. “Anyone thinking they are making progress in the fight against crime when the latest statistics show an increase of more than 50% of murdered women in a year is not thinking at all.”
Cele presented the crime statistics for the first quarter of 2022/2023, between April and June 2022 today.
He chose to start by highlighting a decrease of 800 sexual offence cases to 11 855 cases compared to the same period in the previous year. In addition, he said that the 9 516 rape cases opened between April and June this year were almost 500 cases less than before at 10 006 cases.
“A decrease of 500 rape cases reported loses much of its shine when you realise that still amounts to 106 rapes per day,” said Cameron. “And that is only the reported cases. We hear how women decide not to report these crimes daily because of the failing criminal justice system.”
Cele admitted that the courts convicted only 286 rapists during the reporting quarter. Of them, only 46 persons were sentenced to life imprisonment.
In speaking about the 6 424 murders during three months – which translates to 71 murders per day or three murders per hour – he said the number is “high and worrisome” and especially “brutal and dangerous for women and children”. Over three months, 855 women and 243 children were killed in South Africa.
“There is a difference between worrying about statistics and doing something about crime,” said Cameron. “If Cele spent less time attending imbizos and funerals with his entourage, micromanaging his commissioner and making insensitive statements to the press and instead started being an effective minister, he wouldn’t have to worry about a horrific crime rate. Support police officers by giving them the resources to do their work and stop playing politics. People’s lives are at stake.
“To take this bloodbath and disguise it as progress is an atrocity,” said Cameron.