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Media briefing statement by Minister of Police, General Bheki Cele on the visit to Kwazulu-Natal to assess adherence to the COVID-19 Lockdown Regulations
2020/04/22

Media Statement
Ministry of Police

 

Today marks day 27 of the COVID-19 nationwide lockdown. With just over a week left following the two-week extension, the SAPS, along with the SANDF, Provincial Traffic, Metro Police Departments, and other law enforcement agencies, have done fairly well in terms of enforcing the regulations.

I have extended a word of appreciation to all the members on deployment during this lockdown, for their unwavering commitment and resilience in support of government’s efforts to combat the COVID-19 global pandemic.

We pay tribute to five members of the security forces who have lost their lives during the lock down. Just yesterday in Gauteng, a female detective sergeant was shot and killed in Sebokeng last night; while a member of the SANDF lost his life at a roadblock after a truck driver lost control and crashed onto the embankment, landing on the soldier who was declared dead on the scene. Another soldier also lost his life in an accident in Mpumalanga over the weekend, while two SAPS members were buried in Limpopo and the Northern Cape respectively after they were both killed in the line of lockdown duty.

To this end, over 190 roadblocks have been held daily countrywide, and 681 vehicle checkpoints mounted. Daily – both day and night and including weekends, members of the security forces have been patrolling the streets. Raids have been conducted which have seen illegal liquor outlets shut down and non-essential services such as mines, factories and other companies busted.

Due to the lockdown, the heightened visibility, reinforced by the deployment of the SANDF and other variables such as the prohibition of the sale of liquor, we have seen a significant drop across most crime categories. We will at an appropriate time after the lockdown, give a comprehensive crime picture as we are yet to table the 2019/2020 crime statistics to Parliament.

At this stage, we have compared crime for the period 27 March 2020 to 20 April 2020, to the same period in 2019, and we welcome the decrease in especially contact crime and trio crimes – both crime categories that are known to instil fear and terror amongst our citizens.

CONTACT CRIME

29 March to           27 March to           Case            Percentage

22 April 2019        20 April 2020        Difference    change

                             (lockdown)

                   

Murder        1 542                    432                       -1 110         -72,0%

Rape            2 908                    371                       -2 537         -87,2%

Att. Murder  1 300                    443                       -857            -65,9%

Assault GBH 11 876                  1 758                     -10 118       -85,2%

Robbery       6 654                    2 022                    -4 632         -69,6%

with aggravating circumstances

 

TRIO CRIMES

29 March to           27 March to           Case            Percentage

22 April 2019        20 April 2020        Difference    change

                             (lockdown)

Carjacking   1 146                    219                       -927            -80,9%

Robbery at   1 345                    464                       -881            -65,5%

non-residential premises

Robbery at   1 437                     664                       -773            -53,8%

residential premises

 

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

We have conducted a similar comparison and we have noted a remarkable decrease for domestic related crimes. These include but not exclusive to murder, attempted murder, rape and sexual assault.

The national picture reflects a decrease by 69,4% from 9 990 cases between 29 March and 22 April last year to 3 061 since the lockdown until 20 April 2020, meaning a difference of 6 929.

What has been most concerning is the fact that in most of these domestic violence incidents, the perpetrators are well known to the victims – spouses, partners, close relatives. In four of the incidents during the lockdown, the boyfriends were allegedly killed by their girlfriends and in two of these incidents, the murder was a result of an argument over liquor. In one incident the boyfriend refused to go out to buy liquor and in the other incident, the couple was under the influence of alcohol.

In relation to contraventions of the lockdown regulations, by the end if the initial 21 days we were on almost 107 000 cases opened and over 118 000 people charged. The cases include:

-        Liquor related offences

-        Illegal gatherings

-        Failure to confine to place of residence

-        Cross border movement

-        Business related

-        Transport related

-        Misrepresentation of statement to deceive

 

From those arrested, 42 388 are before different courts across the country, while the rest have either been granted bail, issued with fines, or released with a warning to appear before court.

One of the challenges we have faced during the lockdown has been arresting members of the security forces, government officials and some public office bearers, specifically councillors.

One hundred and thirty one (131) members including two Sergeants from Katlehong in Gauteng who were arrested after allegedly demanding a bribe from a businessman who had contravened the lockdown regulations, on Monday, promising the businessman that they would destroy the docket if he paid them R12 000.

The members we have arrested face a variety of charges relating to the prohibition of the selling of liquor during the lockdown where some were caught drinking; some buying and selling liquor; some for corruption and defeating the ends of justice; some for organising gatherings in contravention of the regulations; some even going as far as allegedly staging break-ins in the Western Cape just to go and steal alcohol from closed liquor outlets.

Meanwhile, at this stage it needs to be emphasised that the only permit that may be obtained from the police, which can also be obtained from a Magistrate, is for travelling across provincial boundaries to and from a funeral. Police are not responsible for any other lockdown permits.

We have in the past week been receiving a lot of enquiries and complaints from parents asking for permits to fetch children in other provinces. Some parents were subsequently sent back at roadblocks or even arrested as they do not fall within the category of parents allowed to travel for this purpose, for example, parents sharing custody.

In relation to the selling of liquor, while at this stage there is practically only one more week left of the lockdown, members of the public are encouraged to continue to adhere to the regulations. The ban on the sale of liquor is still in place.

Yesterday at Maponya Mall in Soweto, six suspects and a tavern owner were arrested as police responded to information of liquor being sold illegally at the Mall. Liquor was confiscated and I hope the instruments used to commit the crime were also seized such as fridges, cash tills, etc.

In relation to the protection of our members against possible infection of the corona virus, the SAPS COVID-19 National Steering Committee is working around the clock to ensure the wellness of the members during these trying times.

Personnel, vehicles and buildings are continuously taken care of in as far as personal protective equipment, sanitising and decontaminating is concerned. Gloves, masks, sanitisers, disposable bags and other necessary items have been supplied to ensure that service delivery is not compromised at any stage.

Hygiene protocols are in place to ensure the regular sanitisation of buildings and vehicles, and that member’s exercise maximum precaution at all time.

The health and wellness of members will be prioritised during this time even against constraints such as price fixing by suppliers and capacity of shortage of stock countrywide.

Stay home and save South Africa!

Together we can beat the corona virus!

Choose Life!

 

Ends

Enquiries:
Brigadier Mathapelo Peters
Acting Police Ministry Spokesperson
076 065 6502

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