Cosatu welcomes lower murder rate
Cape Town - Cosatu has welcomed the drop in crime rates, particularly the 6.5% drop in the murder rate, as reflected in the annual crime statistics released on Thursday.
"This is a significant drop, especially considering that murder and violent [crime] are part of the legacies of the apartheid system," the Congress of SA Trade Unions said in a statement.
Cosatu, however, voiced concern because the drop in the murder rate was not matched by a similar drop in rape statistics.
Although the report suggested rape had decreased by 3%, Cosatu believed the incidents might be higher since only an estimated one in nine victims report being raped.
"Many women who suffer the brunt of rape are reluctant to lay charges against perpetrators due to the social stigma attached to rape."
Cosatu said other factors deterring rape victims were the insensitive, and at times hostile, reception received when laying charges, and the inaccessibility of the justice system.
"The fact that many rape cases are subject to numerous postponements in court serves as another deterrent to rape reporting."
Further evidence suggested the largest increase in rape and sexual attacks had been against children under the age of 7. Some quoted reports indicated a woman was raped in South Africa every 17 seconds. Most rapes happened between people who knew each other.
"Cosatu strongly believes that the defeat of crime, especially crimes committed against women and children, requires strong mobilisation by progressive forces in our society."
The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union lauded the police for reducing crime. It said police visibility on the streets had helped reduce public and street robbery by almost 10.2%, and carjacking by 23.6%.
"This vividly displays that the highway patrols are bearing fruit. These strides clearly paint a picture that police officers are always available on every village, farm, town, city, suburb, and/or any other area during the time of need."