Richmond murder stat error

2013-01-29 00:00

RICHMOND is not the murder capital of the country.

The information used by the South African Institute of Race Relation to calculate the statistic that claimed the town had a murder rate of 192 per 100 000 people – way above the national rate of 31 per 100 000 – is wrong.

The SAIRR’s researcher, Kerwin Lebone, said he had had worked out the figures using the Gaffney’s Local Government in South Africa – Official Yearbook.

“I published the report according to the statistics I had in front of me, and it didn’t occur to me that they might have been inaccurate.”

He said that he had received a similar complaint from the Victor Khanye Municipality [formerly Delmas] in Mpumalanga, which had a murder rate of 177 per 100 000 people.

Joy Leon, the production editor for Gaffney’s, said it seemed the police stations had been wrongly assigned to the Richmond Municipality in the yearbook.

“It’s a constant battle to ensure that the information is correct, and we keep improving it as it goes,” said Leon.

She added that she didn’t manage to contact the person who was responsible with compiling the information.

“I’m not making any excuses. It was wrong and it shouldn’t have been wrong,” she said.

Richmond Municipality Mayor Andrew Ragavaloo alerted The Witness to the error in the calculation of the rates.

In calculating the figures, the SAIRR had added the Nhlanhleni (formerly Pomeroy) and Plessislaer police stations under Richmond, increasing the number of murders in the municipality from 28 to 135.

“We have two police stations in Richmond. One is Richmond and the other is Thornville,” Ragavaloo told The Witness yesterday.

Richmond police station had 17 murders while Thornville had 11.

The SAIRR also said the municipality served a population of 70 222 people. But the mayor said that according to the 2011 Census, the figure was 65 793.

The correct information was that Richmond had a murder rate of 43 per 100 000 people, which was not even in the top 40.

“Their distorted information has given us a negative image. We are in a process of marketing Richmond to attract investors. But they have now become jittery.”

He said the total number of murders (28) in Richmond for 2011/12 was high, and that the town was looking at ways to reduce the figure.

Ragavaloo said he had been inundated with phone calls from as far away as Cape Town from concerned Richmond locals who wanted to know what was going on.

Municipal manager Sibusiso Sithole said others had been inquiring about the awards the municipality had recently received.

It received the award for best small municipality at the 2012 Municipal Excellence Awards and earlier this month councillors from Richmond won the Z.K. Matthews Award for the best performing group of ANC councillors in the country.

“If they do not rectify that situation, they [SAIRR] will lose a lot of credibility,” said Ragavaloo.

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