Worse than a warzone, and the blood is on Cele’s hands – Action Society on Crime Stats Q1 23/24

File:Bheki Cele at press conference on crime at World Cup 2010-06-29 2.jpg” by Marcello Casal Jr/ABr is licensed under CC BY 3.0.

Minister Bheki Cele has blood on his hands. During his time as minister of police more than 125 000 people have been murdered. In fact, it may be even safer for women and children to go live in the Ukrainian war zone than it is to live in South Africa. In the past 18 months, 9 444 civilians lost their lives in the war between Russia and Ukraine – around 1 574 per quarter. In South Africa, 6 228 people were murdered just between April and June this year.

Currently in South Africa, almost three people are murdered every hour, 69 per day. Attempted murders are standing at almost three per hour and rapes at almost five per hour. We lost 293 children to murder in the first quarter of this year. That is three children per day. Every day four children narrowly escape death due to attempted murder. Every day sixteen children are assaulted with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

“While Minister Cele was joking around about computer problems during the 50 minutes the crime statistics brief lasted, three more people were murdered, and five women were raped. Little children are paying with their lives every day because Cele continues to work in a silo and isn’t developing an integrated approach along with the Justice System and Correctional Services and the Department of Social Development to prioritise crime fighting in South Africa,” Ian Cameron, Director of Community Safety at Action Society said after the briefing. “Cele must be sacked, the whole SAPS management should be restructured and a task force, including all the relevant departments, should be formed to ensure an integrated strategy against crime.”

Between April and June 2023, 293 children were murdered – 98 per month, three per day. The increase in the number of violent crimes against children between the first quarter of 2021 and the same period in 2023 are nauseating. Child murders increased by 43.3% from 166 to 293 cases; attempted murder increased by 37.3% from 222 to 354 cases; and Assault GBH increased by 26.4% from 1054 to 1432 cases.

Violence against women paints just as dark a picture with ten murders per day, 16 attempted murders per day and 143 cases of assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm reported per day in the first quarter of 2023. Between the first quarter of 2021 and the same period in 2023 murders increased by 37.7% from 558 to 895 cases; attempted murder increased by 36.7% from 897 to 1 417 cases; and Assault GBH increased by 41.1% from 7 585 to 12 872 cases.

Sexual offenses are known to be underreported. Still, 11 616 sexual offences were reported in the first quarter of this year, of which 9 252 were rapes – almost five every hour.

“At Action Society, we work with the broken families of women and children who are assaulted and murdered every day. Just this past two weeks, we have attended more than 10 court cases, five of which included child murders. While we are doing all we can, we expect more from government. Furthermore, as a society, we will all be complicit if we do not act and demand change in the SAPS. We call on all South Africans to get involved with crime fighting initiatives and to join Action Society’s petition to demand that CELE MUST GO.”

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