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Speaking notes delivered by Police Minister Cele at the release of the first quarter of the Crime Statistics 2020/2021
2020/08/14

SPEAKING NOTES DELIVERED BY POLICE MINISTER GENERAL

BHEKI CELE (MP) AT THE OCCASION OF THE RELEASE OF THE

QUARTER ONE CRIME STATISTICS 2020/2021 HOSTED IN

PRETORIA, GAUTENG, ON FRIDAY 14 AUGUST 2020

Deputy Minister of Police, Hon Cassel Mathale;
All MEC’s in virtual attendance;
National Commissioner of the SAPS General Kehla Sitole;
Deputy National Commissioners;
Provincial Commissioners and Divisional Commissioners;
The Statistician General Mr Risenga Maluleke;
The Secretary Police Mr Alvin Rapea;
The CEO of PSIRA Mr Sam Chauke;
Senior Officers;
Heads of Entities;
All Heads of Department;
Members of the Media

A very good Afternoon to you all.

True to our promise and in line with fulfilling a Cabinet resolution to release the Crime Statistics every quarter. I address the nation to present the Crime Statistics for the first quarter of 2020/2021 financial year.

Allow me to start by, recognising and acknowledging all the dedicated officers of the South African Police Service who continue to serve and protect as the country battles the World’s fifth largest COVID-19 outbreak.

Many of you officers have fulfilled your constitutional obligations in the face of adversity and uncertainty, all the officers in blue who have and continue to maintain high police visibility. I want to commend you for executing your responsibility to serve and protect with excellence.

Maintaining high-density visibility during a pandemic has come at a high cost. Despite our best efforts to keep the virus at bay by wearing protective equipment, sanitizing our hands, vehicles and work stations and by maintaining social distancing while enforcing the law, over 14 thousand (14182) of our members tested positive for COVID-19. Majority of these infections occurred when the officers were in the front lines.

Let me take this opportunity to also extend my heartfelt condolences to the officers in blue who have lost their fight against the deadly pandemic. A total of 163 of our members have died from the virus while over 9 thousand (9563) have recovered. There's no doubt these infections occurred in the frontlines.

COVID 19 AND POLICING

When COVID-19 reached our shores in March 2020, his Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation and announced the national lockdown. The country was put under strict orders to STAY AT HOME!  Businesses, mines, factories, bars, casinos, beauty salons, sporting codes, nightclubs, game parks, hotels, car washes, restaurants, shebeens and taverns, shut down. Churches and schools were not spared either.  

It was also at this time that members of the SANDF were deployed in our communities together with members of the SAPS and other law enforcement agencies in ensuring safety of South Africans and adherence to the Lockdown regulations in all corners of the country.

Together, they manned roadblocks, stopped and searched vehicles and maintained law and order whilst ensuring compliance of the new rules. These include operations such as Okae MolaoSwara Tsotsi and Buya Mthetho and Operation Thunderstorm in Gauteng Limpopo and in the Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga Provinces respectively. 

Operational interventions continued throughout lockdown and have resulted in the confiscation of millions rand worth of contrabands. They also removed illegal firearms off our streets and recovered stolen property including stock. These operations played a huge role in clamping down on illegal transportation and distribution of banned substances such as alcohol and cigarettes. They also got in the way of organised crime trying to take advantage of the new way of life.

To date, 298 252 people have been arrested and charged with contraventions of the Disaster Management Act. 

181 579 were released on warning to appear before a court.

28 337 of those arrested were found guilty of violations ranging from liquor, gathering, transport, business and cross border related offences.

The pandemic certainly didn’t change the fact that members of the South African Police Service remained out on the streets to enforce the law when the country stayed indoors. 

Members of the media, unfortunately criminality didn't take a holiday, this is why officers also continued with investigations, tracking and tracing suspicious activities, clamping down on criminal syndicates and responding to millions of calls of domestic violence and other distress calls by community members.  

LOCKDOWN FIGURES

The first quarter figures that will be presented here today are from the 1st of April 2020 to the 30th of June 2020. This is the same period when the country was under Lockdown level five, four and also reflects crime that took place in the first month of Lockdown level 3. These statistics show major decreases in all crime categories compared to the same comparative period last year. Indeed, the statistics we will release today, paint a never seen before ‘rosy’ picture of a peaceful South Africa experiencing a “crime holiday”.

Ladies and Gentlemen, of course we know that the decreased crime levels were impacted largely by the fact that South Africans heeded the call to STAY AT HOME! And it goes without saying that the conditions for crime to thrive were not normal. There were also more boots on the ground to ensure high police visibility and mass adherence to the Disaster Management Act.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

While we can’t claim easy victories, we acknowledge that the circumstances that led to the declining numbers were distorted.

But even if distorted, it was a better time in South Africa because MORE LIVES WERE SAVED!

These official figures also show a reduction in crimes committed against women and children during stage four and five of the Lockdown. However the low numbers of domestic abuse and sexual offences reported cases could have been due to some women not being able to escape their abusers and could not report crimes committed against them.

In this regard, the SAPS will continue to monitor the reporting of such cases and verify whether the reduction was as a result to non-reporting due to the Lockdown. This will be done by comparing the dates of reporting with the dates of which the crime was committed.

It is equally important to acknowledge that the unavailability of alcohol also had a role to play. This is evident in the decreased numbers of cases of contact crimes which plummeted by 37.4%.

This means there were 53 891 less cases of murder, attempted murder, assault GBH, Common robbery and common assault reported compared to the same reporting period.

The drop in crime cases is also demonstrated by a 29.4% decline in Contact-Related Crimes made up of arson and malicious damage to property.

During this time, South Africans were also safer in their homes, burglaries at residential premises dropped by over 30% whilst on the other hand Burglary at non-residential premises increased by 9.1%. Worryingly, there has been an increased number of attacks on schools and liquor outlets during this time. 

2 692 burglaries were reported at educational premises and 1 246 liquor outlets were targeted.

A total of 1186 suspects have been arrested for these crimes.

There has also been a big drop in the number of sexual offences recording a 39.7% drop on crimes such as rape and sexual assault. A 40.4% decrease in the number of rape cases were reported during the three months.

Ladies and Gentlemen, yes indeed the first quarter of the 2020/2021 period was much safer time to live in, in this country.

All Top 30 stations that are reporting high levels of Assault with intent to cause GBH too recorded drops in numbers. Common assault numbers declined from April and May while the country was under Level 4 and 5 but the gap started to close on the 1st of June when the country was eased into level 3 of the Lockdown.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is also the same time when more people returned to work, some places of leisure reopened and the alcohol ban was lifted.

When I released the last annual crime statistics last week, I said the quarterly release of these statistics will allow for timeous intervention measures aimed at crime reduction.

There are certainly many lessons to be learnt from these recent figures as the SAPS and how we must channel resources where they are needed most in an effort to sustain these low numbers.

But it is also time us as a country start having a frank and open discussion about alcohol and the real effect it has on society. The evidence is clear from these figures that the absence of alcohol leads to safer communities.

CONCLUSION

Before I conclude, let me again take this opportunity to commend officers of the SAPS and our armed forces for holding the fort during the rough winds of the pandemic storm.

While we have a police service that strives for blue excellence, some within our ranks still choose to operate in darkness and in criminality.

163 officers were arrested from the start of Lockdown from violating the very same lockdown regulations they were meant to enforce.

Just this week, 12 SAPS officers who disgraced the police uniform, stood before a magistrate in Gauteng.

A three-year investigation by the Hawks Serious Corruption Investigation and Crime Intelligence saw Warrant officers, Sergeants and Constables arrested for allegedly stealing millions of rands worth of drugs confiscated from drug mules and other corruption related offences at the OR Tambo International Airport. 

Let this be a lesson to all those who join the service with ulterior motives, either than to be enforcers of the law. The SAPS is not the place for you and the long arm of the law will catch up with you and show you no mercy. 

Major General Thulare Sekhukhune will give a Presentation which will reflect an overview of the 2020/2021 Quarter one crime statistics.

 -END-  

Crime Category 

Figures 

Murder 

- 35.8%

Sexual Offences 

- 39.7%

Attempted Murder 

- 23.8%

Assault to do grievous bodily harm

- 41.0%

Common Assault

- 28.2%

Common Robbery 

- 49.8%

Robbery with aggravating circumstances

- 39.5%

 

All Sexual Offences decreased by 39.7%

Crime Category 

Figures

Rape

- 40.4%

Sexual Assault 

- 35.9%

Attempted Sexual Offences

- 40.3%

Contact Sexual Offences 

- 36.2%

 

Crime Category

Figures

Carjacking 

- 41.2%

Robbery at Residential Premises

- 23.2%

Robbery at Non-Residential Premises

- 34.5%

Robbery of Cash-In-Transit

- 50.0%

Bank Robbery 

Zero cases

Truck hijacking 

- 30.0%


 Contact-Related Crimes decreased by 29.4%

Crime Categories

Figures

Arson 

- 32.9%

Malicious damage to property

- 29.2%

 

All Property-Related Crimes decreased 29.1%

Burglary at non-residential premises increased by 9.1%

 

Crime Categories

Figures

Burglary at non-residential premises

+ 9.1%

Burglary at residential premises

- 30.5%

Theft of motor vehicle and motor cycle

- 53.0%