Today’s release of the Annual Crime Statistics shockingly revealed that violent and organised crimes tragically continue to increase and there have been 52 murders, 109 rapes and 46 hijacking victims every day in South Africa.
In particular, the Crime Stats highlighted that there has been a rise in the following crimes:
· Murder is up by 1.8%, from 51 per day to 52;
· Carjackings are up by 14.5%, from 41 a day to a terrifying 46, with carjackings having almost tripled in Mpumalanga;
· Residential robberies increased by over 7%;
· Non-residential (business) robberies increased by 5%;
· Cash-in-transit heists almost tripled in two years;
· Stock theft increased by almost 9%;
· Illegal possession of firearms increased by over 9%; and
· Drug-related crime increased by almost 13%.
This is in large part, a direct result of the chronic under-training, under-staffing, under-resourcing and under-equipping (the four U’s) of the South African Police Services (SAPS), combined with crime Intelligence-in-crisis and detectives-in-distress, meaning that the SAPS is unable to tackle organised crime and the syndicates who drive it and lack a strong, skilled investigative capacity to ensure high detection and conviction rates.
The four U’s, combined with poor leadership, low professionalism and weak accountability in the police service all mean that the SAPS is unable to get a grip on and successfully bring crime down.
We all know that crime in South Africa is unacceptably high. Every single person in South Africa knows what it is to fear for their life and the lives of their loved ones. Our communities are under attack and children cannot walk down the street without fearing for their lives.
What is even more terrifying is that far too many South Africans have reason to fear the SAPS, the very people who are meant to protect us.
We must also question whether or not these statistics are a true reflection of the level of crime as research does seem to point to under-reporting and under-recording of crimes.
What is beyond doubt is that the Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula, is ultimately responsible for the allocation of SAPS resources. It is up to him to take the nation into his confidence and to tell us what concrete plans he has to address this national crisis.
The DA expects a detailed plan on how he will address the four U’s, professionalise the police service and ensure fit and proper police leadership.
It is time for the Minister to step outside of ‘Planet Mbalula’ in his Twitter universe and to make sure the SAPS have what they need to fight crime and ensure safe streets and safe homes in South Africa.