“We do not expect President Ramaphosa to refer to the real state of the nation during his address tomorrow night,” said Ian Cameron, Director of Community Safety at Action Society. “When the most vulnerable citizens, children, aren’t safe, no one is. The president, as leader of South Africa, has failed. He sold out this country to a gang of thugs and gangsters. His SONA will be a lie.”
During last year’s State of the Nation Address (SONA), in his only mention of the crime situation, President Ramaphosa said that the government would be “intensifying the fight against gender-based violence and femicide” through various plans and legislation. He said the “legislation will go a long way to ensuring that cases are successfully prosecuted, that survivors are protected and that there are more effective deterrents in place”. He also praised the “significant progress in DNA processing”.
However, during the past year, 26 370 people in South Africa were murdered. That is more than 3 000 more murders than the previous year.
In the past year 1, 216 children were murdered. That is 200 more murdered children than the previous year.
In the past year, sexual offences increased with more than 1 000 cases to 53 125.
This past December, the Western Cape Department of Community Safety reported more than 200 violent crime cases – including rape, sexual assault, attempted murder and other contact crimes – have been struck off the roll because of incomplete investigations linked to delays in processing DNA evidence.
“We want to hear no more lies,” said Cameron. “Stop making promises, plans and committees and start effectively making South Africa safer.”
Action Society has a long list of practical solutions to the crime situation in South Africa.
- Do a skills audit in the SAPS to determine the merit of appointments and sack members not appointed on merit.
- Polygraph all members – starting with leadership – to determine whether they have been involved in any corrupt activities; if so, sack them.
- Restore crime intelligence capabilities.
- Reinstate specialised units that can effectively deal with serious violent crime without living in the community where they work.
- Crime kingpins, including those with state connections, must be targeted and taken out of operation.
- Restore reservist capabilities, specifically to support specialised units. It is of utmost importance that these reservists do not come from the said communities for intimidation to be limited.
- Pay police members properly.
- Implement police devolution in the Western Cape as a proof of concept.