Western Cape weekend murder rate climbs to 46 despite army presence in crime hotspots

Forty-six people were murdered in the Western Cape this past weekend – a sharp spike from last weekend's 25 people, in spite of the presence of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) in crime hotspots.

"A total of 46 people were murdered over the weekend, with 21 shootings, 20 stabbings and 5 murders by other causes, showing an increase from the 25 murders recorded by the province's forensics services last weekend," said Western Cape Premier Alan Winde, and Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz. Two weekends ago, 43 murders were committed, News24 reported.

The figure for this past weekend includes the murder of a Ukrainian businessman, 44-year-old Ivan Ivanov, who was killed while walking near the East Fort in the Table Mountain National Park.

News24 previously reported that the person arrested in connection with this, Sinaye Mposelwa, 23, was out on parole at the time.

"We are concerned that following a quieter weekend last weekend, to coincide with the first deployment of SANDF troops, we have seen a sharp increase in murder numbers again," said Winde.

"What these numbers underline is that we cannot rely on the SANDF alone to help solve the problem of crime in the province. The South African Police Service, all levels of government, and the public all have a role to play in helping to reduce the scourge of crime on our city."

'Traditionally most violent weekend of the month'

There were also several reports of shootings where residents were injured. This included two children, aged 6 and 16.

"The payday weekend is traditionally the most violent weekend of each month," said Winde.

In May, 71 murders were recorded over the payday weekend, with 66 in June, and 46 in July.

"While there were still 46 murders too many this weekend, we are seeing a downward trend in this regard which we hope to see continue in coming months."

The stabbings were attributed to interpersonal violence, often fuelled by alcohol, and were not thought to be gang-related.

"It is still too early to record the real impact of the deployment of the SANDF in our communities, but with just a three-month window in which to stabilise the situation, we call on the South African Police Service to make maximum use of the additional resources provided by the SANDF."

He said the inter-governmental dispute for more resources continues with Police Minister Bheki Cele.

New police commissioner

The province's own programmes include the deployment, in partnership with the City of Cape Town, of 100 law enforcement officers to Bonteheuwel, watching briefs to track cases in the criminal justice system. There were apparently no recorded murders in Bonteheuwel for the weekend.

The majority of the murders are understood to have been recorded in Cape Town's Metro/Metro East region, with the most in Samora Machel, Khayelitsha, Mfuleni, Nyanga and Guguletu.

"We are also very seriously engaging on the issue of a new police commissioner for the province as we are looking for the best possible candidate to lead the police services going forward," said Winde.

This follows the announcement that provincial commissioner Lieutenant General Khombinkosi Jula is being transferred to KwaZulu-Natal as the commissioner there.

Lieutenant General Sindile Mfazi will be acting, while a replacement for Jula is found.

Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said: "It is essential that the process be concluded swiftly and in a transparent manner given the vast number of murders which take place in our province each weekend.

"It is imperative that the new provincial commissioner be a person of the highest integrity who is not involved in any of the factions that are currently destroying [the police] in the Western Cape."

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