KZN fast becoming country’s next crime capital – Sharon Hoosen

DA says quarterly crime statistics show province second only to Gauteng when it comes to rape cases reported

Victims of Crime survey shows KZN is fast becoming the country’s next crime capital

7 December 2020

The recently released Victims of Crime (VoC) report has revealed that KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) is fast becoming the country’s next crime capital.

This as the province reported the highest number of households that experienced housebreakings between April 2019 and March 2020, with 335 000 incidents affecting 214 000 households. The figure comes after the recently released quarterly crime statistics which saw KZN second only to Gauteng when it comes to rape cases reported.

The report, released by Stats SA last week, focuses on people’s perceptions and experiences of crime, as well as their views regarding their access to, and effectiveness of the police service and the criminal justice system. Households were also asked about community responses to crime.

The Victims of Crime (VoC) report paints a bleak picture for the people of our country and in particular, those living in KZN who remain unsafe, even in their own homes. It also is increasingly clear that in a province where numerous promises have been made in terms of fighting crime - including the development of a turn-around strategy which looked good on paper - that not enough is being done to keep our citizens safe and that Community Safety MEC Bheki Ntuli and his Department need to step up their efforts.

The survey also confirms that only around 52% of all households, country-wide, reported housebreaking incidents to the police. This is evident when comparing the number of incidents that took place, as opposed to the number reported. This figure is an indictment against SAPS and shows that people no longer have faith in their ability to keep them safe.

Further findings show that citizen interaction and community cohesion play a vital role when it comes to safety, particularly in rural areas and that more women than men still feel unsafe walking alone at night. This is in line with the recent quarterly crime statistics which indicated an increase in the number of women raped in public spaces in our province.

The MEC and his Department have taken some measures, including the employment of Social Crime Volunteers on the premise that they would assist SAPS with intelligence gathering and assistance within rural communities. Yet it seems that there are no proper monitoring systems in place and the Department does not know who is employed, where and whether their efforts are effective. This structure must be strengthened if crime is to be stopped before its happens.

By the same token, Community Policing Forums (CPF’s) can only be effective if they are functional but the Department has again failed to ensure an increase in structures while those that are functional are not receiving the necessary support in terms of resources or funding. This while SAPS is also not increasing its workforce fast enough, leading to a decrease in proper monitoring of hotspot areas, a lack of visible patrols and delays in responding to complaints.

The DA has already proposed a back to basics plan to deal with crime yet, to date, the Department has not taken any notice. We again call on MEC to ensure that the following key concerns are addressed with promptness;
- The employment of more SAPS officers/ reservists
- Proper support and resources for CPF’s, security companies and community leaders in order to strengthen SAPS
- The provision of additional resources to SAPS
- Targeted patrols and monitoring of crime hotspot areas and
- Increased visible policing.

It is clear that MEC Ntuli, needs to review the manner in which his Department is being managed, particularly since indicators are not being met to reduce crime. The DA will continue to raise these concerns until such time as they are addressed. Our people deserve crime free communities.

Issued by Sharon Hoosen,DA KZN Spokesperson on Community Safety and Liaison, 7 December 2020