49 murders a day, but ‘it is a good story to tell’

2015-09-29 17:37
Police Minister Nathi Nhleko and National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

Police Minister Nathi Nhleko and National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

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About 49 South Africans are murdered every day, but according to national police commissioner Riah Phiyega, the police still have “a good story to tell”. 

Murder figures rose for the third consecutive year. According to Phiyega, however, the police’s crime fighting efforts are showing dividends because there were noticeable decreases, for example with sexual crimes against women and children. 

This, according to Phiyega, shows there is a good story to tell. 

In the broader context of crime statistics, more than 17800 murders were recorded in the 2014-2015 financial year, mostly in Gauteng and the Western Cape. 

This means that 782 more murders were committed compared with the previous financial year (2013-2014). 

Phiyega and Police Minister Nathi Nhleko this morning, for the first time since 1994, announced the national crime statistics in Parliament where they briefed MPs in the portfolio committee on police. 

In her presentation, Phiyega said that 83.4% of crimes reported in the previous financial year were from members of the community and the rest were through police detection operations such as roadblocks. 

More than 1.7 million arrests were recorded during the past financial year and almost a million of these arrests were for serious crimes, she said. 

But according to Freedom Front Plus MP Pieter Groenewald, the statistics were misleading the public because they were not reflecting the real picture in communities. 

“We must not mislead people by showing small decreases in broader crime categories, creating the perception that crime is under control. Crime is not under control.” 

According to Groenewald, many people laid charges but when they followed up their files had disappeared or they were not given a case number. 

Groenewald raised concern over aggravated robbery that had increased by 8.5% in the past financial year. He specifically referred to house robberies. 

“This is the type of crime South Africans fear the most.” 

According to Phiyega, 50% of respondents in the last citizen satisfaction survey of police services cited home robberies as the most feared crime and 60% indicated they feared home burglaries the most. This is despite the fact that home burglaries decreased by about 6000 incidences the previous financial year. 

Robberies refer to when a firearm is used. 

Democratic Alliance MP Dianne Kohler-Barnard referred to the increase in murders and said the figures are to be expected “from a country at war”. 

“Murder has increased for the third consecutive year. Billions of rands and 15 years later, we are back to where we were in 2000.” 

Nhleko said the figures for murder were worrying and an integrated approach was needed. 

“There is a perception that murder is just an issue for the police, but everyone in communities must mobilise against it.” 

Concern was also expressed about police murders. 

There were 86 police officers murdered, and 1537 assaults on police officers in the past financial year, compared with 77 murders and 1172 assaults in the 2013-2014 financial year. 

“The police is an extension of society. When society kills their police it is like killing ourselves,” said Nhleko.

Read more on:    riah phiyega  |  nathi nhleko  |  pieter groenewald  |  crime statistics

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