Crime statistics: The reaction

Comment from the ANC, COSATU, DA, FF+, IFP, ISS, SAIRR and TAU

African National Congress:


The African National Congress (ANC) welcomes the report on 2010/2011 Crime Statistics released by the Ministry of South African Police Services (SAPS) in Pretoria on Thursday.

We fully welcome the achievements made by the South African Police Services in fighting the dreadful scourge of crime as per our commitment in the ANC manifesto, because crime is the single most societal ill that is threatening to eat greedily on the success of our hard earned Democracy and safety of our people.

The drop of 6.5 percent to murder ratio in 2010/2011; 12.2 percent drop in attempted murder; 7.1 percent in common assault; 4.5 percent assault with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm, and the drop of 4,4 percent in sexual offences are a major milestone.

Also, the ANC would really like to commend the South African Police Services for their unwavering commitment in fighting crime at all costs, and we believe that the current statistics will go a long way in reinforcing behavior change on our people.

We also call upon the society to join in the fight against the scourge of crime, because crime fighting shouldn't only be a matter for the Police, nor government, but a societal matter.

This success has been achieved as a result of brave and selfless commitment of our Police who are daily exposed to senseless counter attacks by the criminal elements.  Let us jointly salute the SAPS for remarkable results and their commitment to safer communities.

Statement issued by Jackson Mthembu, ANC National Spokesperson, September 8 2011


COSATU welcomes the drop in the murder rate (please ignore earlier version)

The Congress of South African Trade Unions welcomes the 6.5% drop in the murder rate as announced by the Minister of Police.

This is a significant drop especially considering that murder and violent are part of the legacies of the apartheid system which enacted its laws not only through the courts but also through the apartheid police force, hit squads and sponsored vigilante groups.

COSATU is concerned that this drop in the murder rate is not matched by a similar drop in rape statistics. Although the report suggests that there has been a decrease in incidents of sexual violence, we are worried that rape statistics in South Africa remain shockingly high. The official rape statistics are far from an accurate reflection since only one in nine rape victims actually report rape. 

Many women who suffer the brunt of rape are reluctant to lay charges against perpetrators due to social stigma , the insensitive and at times hostile reception received when laying charges and the inaccessibility of the justice system. The fact that many rape cases are subject to numerous postponements in court serves as another determent to rape reporting. 

Further evidence suggests that the largest increase in rape and sexual attacks have been against children under the age of seven. Some quoted reports indicating that a woman is raped in South Africa every seventeen seconds. Most rapes happen between people who know each other as opposed to strangers.

COSATU strongly believes that the defeat of crime, especially crimes committed against women and children requires strong mobilization by progressive forces in our society, a commitment to challenge misconceptions about rape through education and a dedication from government and various facets of the criminal justice system  in the fight  against patriarchy.  

Statement issued by Phindile Kunene Shopsteward Editor, COSATU, September 8 2011

Democratic Alliance:

Let's extend successes of World Cup policing to everyday life

Today Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa, announced the 2010/2011 crime statistics.

While time is needed to study the statistics more closely, we welcome the broadly positive trend. The decrease in crime cannot be seen out of context of the spectacularly crime-free FIFA World Cup. Certainly after the huge boost in manpower and resources for the event, this trend was to be expected. It indicates that the tactics used to decrease crime during that period, especially visible policing, must be implemented as part of normal policing strategy.

Crime statistics are not only an important measure of crime levels, but also an indicator of how well government safety policies are managing to keep South Africans safe. The DA advocates real-time crime statistics that are publicly available, so that tailored and localised responses can be formulated while they are still relevant. We continue to believe that this is something which the Minister and his department need to give serious consideration.

The decrease in almost all crimes, including contact crimes such as murder, attempted murder and sexual offences is welcomed. However, the fact that rape is up to over 56 000 rapes pa, added to a massive increase in ATM bombings - some 61.5% - is of concern. Special attention must also be paid to the increases in drug related crimes, and drunk driving. The SAPS has proven that when they focus on areas they see results; we hope these areas are afforded future focus.

Last year there was the great concern of large increases in residential and non-residential robberies; however, residential robberies are down this year - so we may feel safer in our homes, and robberies at businesses seem to have stabilised.

The fact that 98 of our SAPS members were murdered by criminals last year is extremely painful to hear, and added to that is the fact that so many SAPS members have been killed this year. At the very moment that the crime statistics were announced, two officers were shot - one dead - in Durban North.

All the brave men and women in SAPS must be commended for their efforts to keep South Africa safe. These results show that their efforts can and do achieve results.

Statement issued by Dianne Kohler Barnard MP, DA Shadow Minister of Police, September 7 2011

Freedom Front Plus:


 "The Freedom Front Plus welcomes the decline in most of the violent crimes, such as murder, by 6,5%. It is clear that the world soccer cup with more and higher visible policing was a big contributing factor. South Africans should however not be mislead by the statistics. The world average for murder is at present 7 in every 100 000 of the population and South Africa 's figure is now 31,9 in every 100 000. It is still five times higher than the world average. Although house robberies have dropped with 10,1% (16 889), it has over the past five years increased by 60,6% and in the past three years it increased by 16,6%. Rapes have for the third consecutive year increased (56 272). South Africa is still unsafe for especially women," Mr. Pieter Groenewald, chief spokesperson on Police for the Freedom Front Plus says.

"The Minister still did not give the figures for farm murders and this is regretted. The Freedom Front Plus will be taking this matter further in Parliament. Next year's crime statistics will give a better indication of crime figures. It should also be remembered that only 10% of criminals are eventually successfully prosecuted by the courts. The Police is doing its work better but crime in its totality is not combated better. The whole of the legal system will have to operate better to effectively combat crime," Groenewald said.

Statement issued by Mr. Pieter Groenewald, FF Plus Chief Spokesperson: Police, September 8 2011

Inkatha Freedom Party:


The latest South African crime statistics for the 2010/2011 period released today, by the Minister of Police Mr Nathi Mthethwa, has revealed that South Africa is slowly making headway in successfully dealing with South Africa's high levels of rampant crime. This is welcome progress, and the IFP commends the Ministry of Police and the SAPS for their dedication and commitment to making South Africa a safer place.

However, we believe that the remarkable drop in the crime figures must be viewed against the background of an intensive crime fighting campaign that was waged in June and July 2010, when South Africa hosted the international community during the 2010 Soccer World Cup. 

During this period, South Africa's 1118 police stations had additional staff, while our police men and women worked overtime. We believe this is one of the main reasons why today's crime figures paint such a rosy picture.

The IFP believes that if the SAPS could adopt their World Cup modus operandi, with regard to crime fighting as a permanent way of operation - we could see further reductions in crime levels going forward.

Since 1994 we have seen a massive decline year-on-year in the murder rate. The newest figures, a drop of 6.5%, reflect that same trend. We believe this is a promising and positive sign. In addition, the massive drop in car hijackings, attempted murder rate and the drop in house burglaries is significant and laudable.

However, the IFP is shocked by the alarming increase of 61.5% in ATM robberies. ATMs are often unguarded and seen as easy targets for criminals. The IFP believes that government must develop an urgent plan of action to deal with this type of crime.

More importantly, the frank admission by the Minister of Police today that South Africa is not yet winning the war against rape is commendable. The levels of rape in South Africa remain unacceptably high, while all crimes against woman and children must be viewed as a national disgrace. While rape is often underreported, in some instances the police also fail to promote the rights of rape victims by not following correct procedures, or in some cases, even failing to record these crimes. This leads to rape victims feeling helpless and being discouraged to report the crime. This is an issue that government must place special focus on with immediate effect.

The IFP remains concerned with the high levels of corruption within our society, while the tendencies of criminals to target soft targets, such as small businesses and the increase in drug-related crime remain worrying.

In addition, police brutality, the high number of police officials being murdered and understaffing of the ICD remains a cause for concern. Better training for our police officers is urgently needed, while our conviction rate remains far too low.

Despite the improvements in our crime levels, our war against crime is far from over. South Africa's crime levels remain high. One person raped, assaulted, hijacked or murdered is one too many. We must continue to intensify our fight against the lawless elements within our society, and we are hopeful that next year's figures will show more significant reductions in all levels of crime.

Statement issued by Velaphi Ndlovu, MP, IFP spokesperson on police, September 8 2011

Institute for Security Studies:

Institute for Security Studies (ISS) response to SA Police Service annual statistics released in Pretoria on Thursday 8 September 2011.

Commenting on the police statistics, Gareth Newham, head of the Crime and Justice Programme at the Institute for Security Studies, said:

"Crime in South Africa keeps going down, for which the police and many communities deserve some credit.

"But what the statistics don't reveal is the grim reality of many serious and often hidden crimes such as domestic violence, child abuse, hate crimes and corruption. It is important that the SAPS further improves its method of collecting and reporting on these crime statistics. If better data can be obtained about these crimes, they can be addressed more effectively.

"While murder has continued to decline since 1994, reductions in other interpersonal violent crime such as murder, attempted murder and assaults are part of an ongoing trend that started in 2003. There are no simple reasons for the reduction in these types of crime.  It is not simply because of the World Cup, or because we have more police officials. The reasons are most likely to be found in a careful analysis of local socioeconomic factors.

"Reducing crime in the long run is not just about policing and the criminal justice system. It also requires a relentless focus on tackling poverty and inequality, making sure children are safe and healthy and  improving education.

"The police can take credit for reductions in crimes such as vehicle hijacking, residential robberies and the stabilisation in business robberies.  This is because these crimes are organised and committed by repeat offenders who won't stop until the risks of being apprehended are too great. Improvements in police intelligence, investigations and a rapid response to these types of crimes have resulted in better arrest and conviction rates for these criminals and once behind bars, they no longer pose a danger to our communities.

"The reduction in crime should remove undue pressure on the police and provide the much needed space for police leadership to focus on promoting police professionalism and service delivery by tackling ill-discipline, and the abuse of power and corruption by police members.

Issued by the ISS, September 8 2011

South African Institute of Race Relations:

Statement by the South African Institute of Race Relations on South African crime statistics

The South African Institute of Race Relations has said that the overall picture emerging from crime statistics released by the South African Police Service this morning is positive.

Year-on-year most major crime rates expressed per 100 000 of the population are down by between five and ten percent.

The murder rate for example is down 6.5% year-on-year and more importantly is down 50% since 1994. What must be remembered, however, is that it is still significantly higher than that in most other parts of the world.

The 2003/2004 period was the peak year for many crime rates and the rates have mostly come down significantly since then.

The Institute's deputy CEO, Frans Cronje, warned that there were, however, two important exceptions:

1. The net number of house robberies is still 100% higher than in 2003/2004.

2. The net number of business robberies is 300% higher than in 2003/2004 and bucked the overall year-on-year trend by increasing by 0.9%.

Cronje said that types of crimes that South Africans fear the most therefore remain serious problems for the police. By international standards South Africa remains a dangerous society.

However, the data suggests that progress is slowly being made in securing a safer society. This is most probably due to the joint efforts of the South African Police Service and the private security industry which is playing an ever more important role in fighting crime in South Africa. He added that the private security industry now has twice as many active personnel as the South African Police Service.

Issued by the SAIRR, September 8 2011


Where are the farm murder statistics?

Any drop crime rates is to be welcomed, and therefore TAU SA is also slightly optimistic about lower crime rates that have been announced.

But there is certainly no reason at all to feel proud of the released crime figures.

The number of 15 940 murders represents nearly 44 murders per day.  This is a disgrace if it is measured against average of the world,and is even higher than the mortality in most war zones.

The rape rate of 56 272 represents a reported rape of one every ten minutes. No woman can feel safe with such statistics.

TAU SA is still very upset with the fact that farm murders is not reported as a separate category. The fact that the police are able to highlight police killings as a separate category means they should have the ability to separate farm murders from the other statistics. The94 police killings is obviously too high. This represents about 61 murders per 100 000 population of the police.

According to TAU SA's figures, it appears that 33 farm murders for the period April 2010 to March were reported and TAU SA is aware that this figure is likely higher. This represents a figure of 86 per 100 000 population of farmers. This is still frighteningly high. TAU SA took notice of the police have on occasion said that farm murders are now a mere "concern" and no longer a priority. Farmers pay the sametaxes and are therefore entitled to the same services in terms of security as the police claims for himself.

Statement issued by TAU SA, September 8 2011

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