KZN crime statistics briefing postponed

2013-09-24 00:00

THE expected media briefing in KZN on the recently released provincial crime statistics was postponed just hours before it was to begin yesterday.

This is in contrast to the Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Gauteng provincial police, who briefed their various media outlets in their provinces just 24 hours after the statistics were released by Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and national police chief Riah Phiyega on Thursday.

It was expected that the MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison Willies Mchunu, as well as the provincial commissioner of police for KwaZulu-Natal Lieutenant-General Mmamonnye Ngobeni, would address the media regarding the release of crime statistics for the province.

Mchunu’s spokesperson Kwa­nele Ncalane said the event was cancelled due to “logistic issues”.

He would not divulge what commitment Mchunu had to attend to in preference to the proposed briefing his office had arranged in conjunction with the SAPS.

“The briefing will be held at a later date,” said Ncalane.

The provincial security cluster is likely to come under scrutiny as a number of key crime indicators all showed an increase as compared to the period of 2011/12.

Ngobeni and Mchunu will have to explain the increase in almost all contact crimes, property related crimes, a 6,7% increase in kidnappings and the 12,8% increase in public violence.

Furthermore, KZN’s spike in business and residential robbery, up 440% and 150% respectively over the last 10 years, will place the provincial crime intelligence unit under the spotlight.

Last week, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) told The Witness that the unit’s troubles may be giving organised crime a space to operate within.

Since 2011, the unit has been beset with internal issues.

The unit’s former head, Richard Mdluli, has been accused of a myriad of offences, including murder, corruption and abuse of state resources. He was suspended in 2011.

Locally the Cato Manor Organised Crime Unit, has been disbanded and its members are facing criminal charges.

Hawks KwaZulu-Natal boss General Johan Booysen and members of the unit are set to stand trial in November on more than 100 charges — including 28 murder counts — relating to a series of killings by the police that the state claims were unlawful.

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