Parties welcome reduced crime figures
Cape Town - Political parties across the board have welcomed the drop in crime reflected in figures released on Thursday.
Democratic Alliance spokesperson Dianne Kohler Barnard said while time was needed to study the figures more closely, the DA welcomed the broadly positive trend.
The decrease in crime could not be seen out of context of the spectacularly crime-free FIFA World Cup, she said.
"Certainly after the huge boost in manpower and resources for the event, this trend was to be expected," she said.
"It indicates that the tactics used to decrease crime during that period, especially visible policing, must be implemented as part of normal policing strategy."
Velaphi Ndlovu of the Inkatha Freedom Party agreed the remarkable drop in crime figures should be viewed against the background of intensive policing around the Soccer World Cup.
"The IFP believes that if the SAPS could adopt their World Cup modus operandi with regard to crime fighting as a permanent way of operation, we could see further reductions in crime levels."
Kohler Barnard said crime statistics were not only an important measure of crime levels, but also an indicator of how well government safety policies were managing to keep South Africans safe.
"The DA advocates real-time crime statistics that are publicly available, so that tailored and localised responses can be formulated while they are still relevant."
The decrease in almost all crimes was welcomed, but the fact that rape was up to over 56 000 cases, and the massive increase in ATM bombings - some 61.5% - was of concern, she said.
This was echoed by Ndlovu, who expressed shock at the increase in ATM robberies.
"The IFP believes government must develop an urgent plan of action to deal with this type of crime."
Despite the improvements, efforts to combat crime were far from over, and crime levels remained high.
"One person raped, assaulted, hijacked, or murdered is one too many," he said.
Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Mulder agreed the World Cup measures had been a large contributing factor.
"South Africans should, however, not be mislead by the statistics. The world average for murder is at present seven in every 100 000 of the population, and South Africa's figures were now 31.9 in every 100 000... it is still five times higher than the world average."
The African Christian Democratic Party's Kenneth Meshoe appreciated the 6.5% decrease in murder and 12.2% drop in cases of attempted murder, as well as decrease in car hijackings and non-residential robberies, but was concerned at the ongoing high rape figures.
Bantu Holomisa of the United Democratic Movement said the decreased crime rates pointed to improved co-operation between communities and the SAPS.
All parties lauded the police for its dedication in making progress against crime.