To the state, innocent victims are just statistics

Even though some of the crime statistics released this morning by the South African Police Service (SAPS) show a minor decrease from the previous three months, the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, should remember that real human beings are behind those numbers. It is, in fact, no reason to celebrate when more than a quarter of a million people are murdered over a decade.

“While the family and friends of Siphokazi Booi today – two years after she was mutilated and burnt to death – have to beg for justice, Minister Bheki Cele feels he is winning at reducing the murder rate from 3,5 murders per hour to three murders per hour,” says Ian Cameron, Director of Community Safety at Action Society. “More than 27 000 people were murdered this past year, and the police solve only one out of every ten murders. That is something to be ashamed of.”

The statistics show that 11 women and three children are murdered per day. It also shows that 15 women and four children survive an attempted murder daily. Almost 25 000 people in South Africa were victims of attempted murder this past year.

Furthermore, every day, we see 120 cases of rape reported – five per hour. Considering the severe underreporting of these cases, a rape rate of 50 000 per year is very conservative.

“These statistics, not just for crime, but also for conviction, make it very difficult for us to see any success in the future,” said Cameron. “Unless the government urgently implements an integrated plan between the Departments of Police, Justice, Correctional Services and Social Development, the crime statistics mean nothing.”

Action Society is currently overseeing the cases of Siphokazi Booi and Liezel de Jager, amongst others, where they were brutally murdered, but the criminal justice system has let them down. Siphokazi was burnt and mutilated in September 2021, just three weeks after her boyfriend severely assaulted her, but was released on bail. In Liezel’s case, there is no post-mortem or evidence analysis report, and no arrests have been made 600 days after her murder, even though it seems like an open-and-shut case.

“They can read off crime statistics as much as they want; the problem is that the system is broken. There are real people behind the statistics who are murdered, raped and assaulted. They are not numbers; they are people. We hope all of these ministers and President Ramaphosa say their names today so they don’t forget who they are failing.”

To help Action Society to support women like Siphokazi and Liezel’s families to get justice, support us here.

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Action Society will protect and save all relevant personal information as described in the applicable legislation and shall only use such personal information for the purpose stated herein. With completing the above form you agree and confirm that Action Society may contact you in future. We thank you for your support.