We’re winning against crime – Bheki Cele

Minister says 7 710 people were murdered in 3rd quarter of 2023/24, an increase of 2,1%

Minister Bheki Cele: Third Quarter Crime Statistics 2023/2024

16 February 2024

Speaking notes by the Minister of Police, General Bheki Cele on the occasion of the release of the third quarter crime statistics for financial year 2023/24, on Friday 16 February 2024

Deputy Minister of Police, Mr Cassel Mathale;
National Commissioner of SAPS, Gen Fannie Masemola;
The National Head of the Hawks, Lt(Dr/Adv) Lebeya;
Deputy National Commissioners Present;
Provincial and Divisional Commissioners Present;
The Acting Secretary of Police, Mr Ramaru;
Members of the Media;

Good afternoon

This briefing on the crime statistics takes place at a time when the tide is turning against crime through our concerted efforts in ensuring that we provide a safe and secure environment for all who live in South Africa.

Ladies and gentlemen….

The crime statistics that we are releasing this afternoon, are crimes that were detected by our men and women in blue  and reported by victims of crime to all our 1163 police stations between 01 October 2023 to 31 December 2023.

Ladies and gentlemen, this was a very busy period in the police calendar as it marked the festive period, a time which is often characterised by a lot of movement, an influx of visitors and tourists as well as holiday makers to the country. This is quite often a period in which criminals prey on these unsuspecting victims, robbing them of their hard earned money and belongings.

This is why we have through our safer festive season operational plan ensured that, through deployment of critical resources and manpower, our police officers were adequately resourced to deal decisively with criminals in all forms and shapes. I must say, we came into this festive period, WELL-PREPARED…We unleashed our safer festive operational plan on the 13th of October 2023, where we  deployed various policing interventions and strategies and gave strict instructions and a clear directive to our members on the ground to squeeze out all criminals in every corner of this country.

It is clear that our efforts to prevent, combat and arrest criminals is proving to be effective. It is also quite clear with the number of arrests made, that OPERATION SHANELA is making its mark and putting a dent on serious, violent and organised crime. Since its inception on 08 May 2023, more than 442 thousand suspects have been arrested.

A highlight of some of the arrests effected during the festive period are as follows:

32 229 suspects were arrested for common assault and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm

 4 882 suspects were arrested for murder and attempted murder

4 783 suspects were arrested for sexual offences related crimes such as rape and attempted rape

 6 383 people were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs

3 747 suspects were arrested for dealing in drugs while,

16 942 suspects were arrested for being in possession of drugs

2581 suspects were arrested for being in possession of illegal and prohibited firearms and ammunition

Major drug busts

Four major drug busts during this period were registered. Three were at the Durban Harbour where cocaine to the value of R300 million was seized in separate incidents. The most recent drug bust during this period was for cocaine to the value of R151 million on the 4th of December 2023. The fourth drug bust was at the Gqerberha Sea Port where cocaine worth R65 million was seized.

In this period, R800 million worth of drugs were destroyed in Gauteng. These were drugs collected during policing operations across the country.

15 Drug clandestine drug laboratories were shut down with 21 suspects arrested for drug related charges including manufacturing and dealing in drugs.

Indeed, our intelligence structures are hard at work in preventing and putting a stop to the drug trade in the country and beyond. This is also a clear demonstration that all stakeholders involved in border security management are working together to tighten the control measures of cargo entering and departing our country.


As we unpack the third quarter crime statistics, for the past two consecutive terms, we had noted a reduction in the number of murders reported.

During this period, a total of 7 710 people were murdered.

It is disturbing and concerning that the number of people murdered during this period, increased by 2.1% leading to 155 more people murdered as compared to the same period. The provinces of KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Free State must be singled out and commended for being able to register a reduction in the number of people murdered during this period.

While they may not be out of the woods yet, it is important to highlight that attention and more resources have been allocated to stations that have the highest number of murders reported. The majority of the top 30 stations where murder was most reported include, the Western Cape, KwaZulu Natal, Gauteng and Eastern Cape.

Amongst the top 5 stations where murders were reported are in Inanda in KZN, and Mfuleni, Gugulethu, Nyanga and Khayelitsha in the Western Cape.

From a sample size of 7 340 murders it was established that Arguments, misunderstandings, provocation, remains the top causal factor leading to 1 116 murders.

It is also concerning that of the 268 gang-related murders, 250 of these murders were reported in the Western Cape.

431 murders were linked to vigilantism and mob justice attacks, Gauteng registered the highest with 84, followed by the Eastern Cape with 80 and KwaZulu-Natal with 78.

During the same period the SAPS registered the following convictions in relation to murder: Life imprisonment: 42 murderers were handed down 56 life sentences.

20 plus years imprisonment: 83 murderers were handed down life sentences each

10-19 years imprisonment: 282 murderers were handed down a collective 287 year’s imprisonment sentence

5-9 years imprisonment: 215 murderers were handed down a collective 216 years imprisonment sentence

Sexual offences related crimes

Ladies and Gentlemen, the fight against GBVF crimes remains a priority for our men and women in blue and that is why we are encouraged to report that all our sexual offences crimes including, rape sexual assault and contact sexual offences all registered an overall 1.7% decline during this period.

Rape declined by 1,7 % and six provinces including Gauteng, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Northern Cape and Western Cape all registered a decline in this crime category.

More than two-thousand four-hundred suspect raids led to 4-thousand- 2-hundred and 64 (4264) suspects being arrested for GBVF related crimes such as rape and sexual assault. What is encouraging is that more awareness programs are being conducted by our social crime prevention and Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Units (FCS), which translates to an increase in the reporting of these crimes.

In the life imprisonment category: 112 life sentences were handed down to 89 rapists and GBVF perpetrators 64 rapists and GBVF perpetrators were each handed down  20 years and above imprisonment sentence 172 rapists and GBVF perpetrators were handed 10 to 19 years imprisonment 261 rapists and GBVF perpetrators were handed down 1 to 9 years imprisonment

What is most encouraging is that, Inanda which has always been known as the rape capital of the country - has also seen a slight reduction in the number of rape cases by registering twenty counts lower than the same period under review. This goes to show that our FCS teams are proving to be acting decisively against those who are perpetrating rape crimes.

What is still worrying and of great concern is that the majority of the rapes, were committed at victims’ residences. The perpetrators were either neighbours, friends or a family members.

Just this week, the Limpopo police apprehended a serial rapist. Manyike Monyuku has been linked to twelves rape cases.


There has been significant progress in the finalisation rate of DNA cases and the eradication of the historic DNA backlog which is currently standing at ZERO from 251 000 in the 2021/2022 financial year. Further to this, the expansion of the DNA lab in Gqerberha which was opened by the President in August 2023 has contributed immensely to the processing of more DNA samples in the country. All these efforts have contributed positively to the SAPS fight against gender-based violence and femicide cases. For example, the NPA and SAPS project has led to more than 40 000 DNA forensic reports being finalised to ensure that cases of GBVF are prioritized.

Cash-in-transit heist (CIT)

The specialised teams put in place in each province are also yielding results in ensuring that we see a reduction in the number of Cash-in-transit (CIT) armed robberies that are taking place. During this period, 46 CIT armed robberies took place which is 11 counts lower than the previous crime reporting period. In the past year, more than 75 wanted CIT suspects have been arrested during takedown operations. High calibre firearms including rifles and AK47s as well as high performance vehicles that were used in the commission of these crimes were seized. 

Property related crime

Property related crime registered an overall 2,9 %  decrease in incidents reported.

Burglary at non-residential premises saw a drop of 5,9 % while burglaries at residential premises registered a drop of 4,4%  in the number of cases reported.

Stock theft which includes the theft of live stock also registered a drop in the number of cases reported.

Through our Rural Safety Strategy that is being implemented to address stock theft and crime in the rural and farming areas, we were able to reduce the number of stock theft incidents by 2.1%.  We do believe that by working collectively with the farming community and farm watchers, we will register a drop in more reported cases.

Crimes detected as results of police action

Crimes detected as a result of police action such as the illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, drug-related crime, as well as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs as well as sexual offences and other crimes all registered a positive increase of 10.8 %. These are crimes that are usually not reported to the police but detected as a result of the deployment of law enforcement personnel and the employment of intelligence.

The statistics reveal that contact crimes which are commonly known as the 17-community reported crimes which include murder, rape, assault, and shoplifting registered a slight increase of 1,5 %.

Police killings

22 police officers were killed during this period. 10 were killed on duty while 12 were killed off-duty. Our police officers were also able to track down and apprehend 12 police killers during this period. Two police killers were also sentenced and convicted to 4 life term imprisonment sentences. Criminals are warned that they will face the full might of the law and be held accountable for all the consequences flowing from the killing of police officials. We will not hesitate to ensure that those who harbour police killers are or are in any way involved in criminal activity related to police killings will face the same consequences as the criminal who actually pulled the trigger. This principle applies to all those who assist criminal to commit crimes or evade the law afterwards.

Mass shootings

In relation to mass shootings, six incidents were reported, while the seventh incident was a mob justice attack in Diepsloot. In the Inanda shooting where five men were shot and killed, three suspects were arrested and have already appeared in court for murder. Their next court appearance is on the 28th of February 2024.

In the mob justice attack where five men were burnt to death in December 2023, five suspects were arrested and charged for the murders. They have already made several court appearances and their case was remanded to the 07th of March 2024. All five accused remain in custody.

Construction mafia

The SAPS continues in its efforts to deal decisively and neutralize construction mafia’s as it continues to pose a threat to business and the economy of the country. From April to date, more than 61 suspects linked to these extortions were arrested. Since 2019,  27 accused were convicted for a collective 43 years direct imprisonment.

In a recent incident, 12 suspects were arrested during a takedown operation in Toekomsrus in Randfontein. A group calling themselves Toekomsrus Business Forum attempted to disrupt a R320 million housing project demanding a 30 % stake in the project, the police swift response led to the arrest of these twelve suspects with two firearms confiscated.

The Western Cape province has also made significant progress in dismantling and taking down those behind the 30% construction mafia grouping where projects were delayed as a result of acts of criminality. Amongst the many arrested include the Kingpins which include Ralph Stanfield and his wife Nicole Johnson and three others,

Nafiz Modack who is the leader of the Terrible Westsiders gang and seventeen others are in custody for gang related activities and the murder of the late Lieutenant Colonel Kinnear as well as the attempted murder of a local attorney, William Booth and  the father of a Hawks investigator. These suspects are currently appearing in court on various charges linked to18 cases such as murder, corruption, intimidation, extortion and fraud. Three have already been found guilty.

Yanga Nyalara commonly known as Bara is also in custody, he was arrested in July 2023 with five others for extortion related mass murders involving twenty four bodies that were found in the greater Khayelitsha Precinct

Lungi Arnold Madolo, also known as Fire, was involved in the killing of Deputy Chairperson of CPF in Gugulethu, Ms Guffy was traced and arrested in Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape.

Bonke Makalala who is a leader in SANTACO Western Cape is also in custody, he was arrested in December 2023 for taxi violence related activities.


Kidnappings for ransom has become a lucrative commodity for organised crime in South Africa. The SAPS continues in its efforts to identify and arrest groupings linked to kidnappings especially where ransom demands are being made. More than 300 suspects linked to these kidnappings have been arrested in the last two years.

Illicit mining

Through illicit mining operations currently underway in seven illegal mining hotspot provinces such as Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Gauteng, Northern Cape, KwaZulu Natal, Free State and North West, we have unleased OPERATION VALA UMGODI where we are working closely with members of the South African National Defence Force and the Department of Minerals Resources and Energy (DMRE) in apprehending those that are behind these illegal activities and confiscating illegal mining equipment. 1258 illegal miners have been arrested during this period. Through these operations, we were able to seize 94 illegal and unwanted firearms including, 25 rifles and 69 handguns. 103 stolen and hijacked vehicles were also recovered. 


Strengthening and revitalising Community policing relations remains a top priority in the fight against crime. To demonstrate our commitment to strengthen these relations, we have allocated R70 million to ensure proper functioning of these structures. It is quiet encouraging that 94 % of the CPF budget has been spent on resources such as vehicles to ensure maximum cooperation and interaction with the community.

I will now handover to the crime registrar, to present the quarterly crime statistics.

Issued by SAPS, 16 February 2024