South Africans might not be clear who in the ANC is winning the battle, but there is little doubt that it is the people of the country who are losing, writes Howard Feldman.
National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega has released the official crime statistics for the past financial year, which included a 4.6% increase in murders, and a 5.4% decrease in reported sexual offences.
With that, the Portfolio Committee has
called the meeting closed.
Contact crimes have increased in 5/9 provinces. Contact-related crimes have increased in 6/9 provinces.#crimestats— Rebecca Davis (@becsplanb) September 29, 2015
Contact crimes have increased in 5/9 provinces. Contact-related crimes have increased in 6/9 provinces.#crimestats
“I have been asked this question about the
release of stats on a quarterly basis before. There is a cabinet position on
the issue taken some time ago. There is a discussion somewhere at the level of
government in one corner saying shouldn't we do this and how does this impact
on planning processes?
“There is a view that says: maybe for
better alignment and planning purposes, we need to review how often to release
#CrimeStats: To blame any province for this is a complete fabrication & deliberate misunderstanding of the law. @DKB20— Democratic Alliance (@Our_DA) September 29, 2015
#CrimeStats: To blame any province for this is a complete fabrication & deliberate misunderstanding of the law. @DKB20
Worried about the #CrimeStats? Here’s how to keep yourself and your home safe http://t.co/5YI1eiVwt8— Carmen Williams (@Carmzjw) September 29, 2015
Worried about the #CrimeStats? Here’s how to keep yourself and your home safe http://t.co/5YI1eiVwt8
“Indeed, the point I want to make though is
that yourselves as responsible political leadership, you have got to be
activated around such an issue and that is why we need to be balanced in the
manner in which you deal with criticism levelled against the police service.
“These are professions. We can't, as
political leaders, dish out negative messages that then says to ordinary people
on the ground that we don't take police seriously and they are of no value. Because
then they are likely to relate in that way to police. We need to make a
#CrimeStats Nhleko says there needs to be a political intervention to educate people about the value the police render to society.— Jacaranda News (@JacaNews) September 29, 2015
#CrimeStats Nhleko says there needs to be a political intervention to educate people about the value the police render to society.
“There were cases where some of these were
sporadic and uncoordinated.
“Others are coordinated and linked to the
Police Minister Nathi Nhleko now addressing
“It is a very concerning development, the
question of police attacks. The police are the extension of society. The police
are us, ourselves. If society kills police, we are killing ourselves. It is
“We have been learning a lot from the
Western Cape. They are assisting us with gang language.”
“The police act does allow us to set up
units. From time to time, when you see serious, complex crimes, I am assured
the minister would not hesitate to pronounce a unit.
“There is the Hawks, the stock theft unit.
It is an available mechanism for us.”
Phiyega now addressing the issue of reliability
of the stats.
“Stats SA also has a mandate to co-ordinate
statistical production. We are subjected to certain protocols.”
“In the same way, that Ms Kohler-Barnard, we
don't know that her husband is going to murder her. I am just making an
“When we say it is something that happens
in close-linked families and societies, it makes the problem a social issue
that requires largely advocacy.
"We need to teach people that the fact that I
disagree with you does not mean I can punch you in the face. We must gain
skills to resolve our differences. It starts with such small things.”
“The lesson we should learn regarding
sexual violence - it is not the type of crime you can detect. It is a crime we
react to as it is reported.
“Nhleko, there is this thinking that murder
can only be solved by police and it can't be. It can never be. It is
“You spoke about your housebreaking in
Acacia Park and you said it was reported as damage to state property," continues Nhleko in response to MP Groenewald's question.
that is state property. But I think the point you are trying to raise that the
case was only dubbed damage to property and perhaps should have included
housebreaking. That is a matter of suggestion.
“So it goes also with your assertion that
crime is not under control. That is simply a statement and yet the stats put
before you, over 10 and 5 year periods, there has been a decrease. And that is
“I think for me we need to try and strike a
balance. We can only work on the basis of what is here for us.”
“Of course, you get the other category
(16.6%), where police have got to go out themselves and detect crimes.
“If you then say you doubt stats, by how
much do you doubt your stats? Can you rely on just your own crime experience Mr
Groenewald and then decide the fate of the entire spectrum of crime stats in
“I am not saying I am condoning your own
case where you weren't given a case number. But you can't use that and solely
that to decide the fate of the whole thing. I think that is wrong."
Nhleko now addressing the issue of the
reliability of stats
“The Saps is constitutionally mandated to
deal with the issue of peace, stability and crime and everything else. You
don't have other institutions given this mandate.
“Of course, we utilise a particular system.
83% of people walk into police stations, they don't come to Mr Groenewald's
house, because there is no reason to do so. You can only work on the stats on
the basis of what has been brought to your attention.”
Back to Nhleko:
“The other loophole is a systemic issue -
much as the law talks to capping or threshold of the number of firearms, there
is no system that you went into Groenewald shooting shop, you went in and
bought some rounds. And then next door, you go to another shop and buy stuff.
There is no system to track that. As much as the law prescribes certain things,
you can go around the law.”
R10.8bn flows out of SA illegally
A total of R10.8bn was illegally
transferred out of South Africa during the past year, according to national
police commissioner general Riah Phiyega.
Commercial crime overall was 11.6% down to
67 830 cases in the 2014/15 year from 76 744 from the year before.
Police Minister Nathi Nhleko now gives his
“Some questions are quite critical and
useful in our work.
“Responding to honourable chair on resource
deployment and shifting. I think members of the committee would remember that
when we dealt with the issue of what has to happen post Farlam Commission
recommendations, we highlighted the fact that we need to zoom into 3 broad
“How to deal with people as resources, the
culture and business processes.”
Back to questions:
DA's Dianne Kohler-Barnard says: “My investigations
reveal many dockets are simply closed, while families still believe the police
are looking for rapists or killers. Are those dockets shut and archived, then
removed from crime stats?
“Secondly, most worrying is the murder
rate. We are basically back to where we were in 2000. 15 years and billions of
rands later, we are back there.
But according to the mortuary, their
figures of bodies are 1000 higher than the police. Babies dumped and unwanted
are not registered as murder dockets but as inquests. No one is held accountable
for killing the baby. So there were over a 1000 of those in Gauteng.
actually then questioning this number you have given for murders. I would
expect this murder figure from a country of war.
Meanwhile, back to the stats...
Instances of house robberies increased by
2014/15 compared with the previous year - an increase of 5.2% - according to
the crime statistics released on Tuesday.
DA MP Zak Mbhele: “Over the past couple of
years, there has been an immovable resistance in the Saps to anti-gang units. I
have to ask that given indications of efficacy of specialised approach, why is
the Saps seemingly not willing to try these avenues of specialised units,
rather than task teams.
“Task teams have impact, but as soon as they’re
disbanded, they lose institutional memories and skills.”
Pieter Groenewald of the FF Plus – “The
supermoon should be the bloody moon. Even if Stats SA are brought into auditing
system, do you think these are a true reflection of SA society?
“Because police are not reporting these
crimes correctly at stations.
“We must not mislead ourselves that if we
have small decreases, that crime is under control. Crime in SA is not under
Chair Francois Beukman to minister - "We have
seen increase in serious and contact crimes. Can we expect from task team the
immediate shifting of resources to those provinces that struggle with contact
crime and serious crime? Is the task team also going to look at deficiencies?"
Questions from other members - "What efforts
are made to ensure crimes are captured correctly at police stations? How
reliable are the stats? What might be the problem that leads to increases in most
“All levels of government must ensure early
intervention to mitigate issues relating to service delivery before it
“The brazen nature of criminals in our
society results in significant numbers of police murders. This not only impacts
on Saps establishment, but also in a significant loss of investment in terms of
skill and experience.
“Crimes against women and children remain a
priority. We have a good story to tell as our various efforts are beginning to
“When all is said and done, crime stats are
not only about numbers and performance of the police but a mirror reflection of
the society at large. We are all hands on deck and continue to work hard.”
“Municipalities and provinces should
standardise the liquor act. Liquor trading and consumption are significant
drivers of perpetration of contact crimes," says Phiyega.
“It should also enforce bylaws etc. We
argue that moral regeneration programmes are crucial.”
Overall performance of provinces in terms
of serious contact crimes... on the top end is Free State and the bottom end is
Phiyega says contact crimes remain stubborn
in this financial year.
“It should be noted that contact crime are
policed after the fact.
“Furthermore, reflecting on an increase in
the degree of violence, is evidence that there is a broad normalisation of
violence in communities. The quantity of media coverage may also play a part
Instances of murder have increased by 4.6% over
the last financial year, with 782 more cases reported, according to the
newly-released crime statistics.
Sexual offences detected as a result of police action
There were 1 620 more sexual offences detected as a result of police action in 2014/15 compared with the
previous year - an increase of 34.4% - according to the crime statistics
released on Tuesday.
This brought the number up from 4 720 in 2013/14 to 6 340 in the current period.
“A very large proportion of contact crimes
involve those known to each other and frequently linked to arguments,” says Phiyega.
Perpetrators are largely young males and
are unemployed. Some cases are related to domestic violence. A lot happens
within private homes where it is difficult to police.
“This is an area we need to look at and
track,” says Phiyega.
Phiyega: “It is notable that in particular,
these contact crimes are concentrated in certain parts of the province and even
“These contact crimes tend to occur
frequently over the weekends and mostly over dark hours, when people tend to
socialise and go about social activities.
“A seasonal spark is usual also evidenced,
over the festive season and holidays.”
Community-reported serious crime
“These continue to decline over 10-year
period,” declares Phiyega.
“From a high of 2 million charges in 2005/2006
to 1.79 million charges in this 2014/15 period.
“We are grateful overall that the trend is
still going down.
Contact crimes reported by the community: 750
397 charges in 2005/2006 to 616 973 in 2014/15.
They have, however, increases in the
In the fight against drugs, we have
confiscated 440 269 288kgs of dagga, 1 926 256kgs of nyaope, - 304, 865kg of whoonga,
598 743kg of tik.
“If you look at this, you realise drug use
is increasing in our communities. 57 clandestine drug labs were dismantled, of
which 31 were hydroponic and 26 were synthetic chemical labs.”
Key Operational successes:
Police arrested 1.7 million people through
“We recovered 36 186 reported lost/robbed
vehicles,” says Phiyega.
Now to broad increases or decreases:
Contact crime (against a person) decreased by
17.9% over 10 years but there was a slight increase of 0.9% for this past
Contact-related crimes (against property)
decreased by 15.6% over 10 years but there was a slight increase of 1.9% for
Property-related crime decreased by 2.3% over
the last 10 years and decreased by 0.8% for this year.
Other serious crimes decreased by 8.1% in
last 10 years and decreased by 2.2% in this past year.
Time it takes to get to a police station
from victims’ perspective:
66% of victims get to a station in less
than 30 minutes.
Crimes most feared by
Crimes most feared by the community
according to Stats SA are housebreaking/burglary, followed by home robbery and
Unrest and peaceful-related incidents
“There have been 12 451 peaceful protests
for this year in review and 2 289 violent protests for this year.
“These are major contributors to crime -
malicious damage to property for instance,” says Phieyga.
This is up from the last period 11 601
peaceful and 1907 violent protests.
Police attacks and murders
There were 1537 attacks on police this year
and 86 murders.
“This is a very serious concern in terms of
investment of training and experience. We write off a lot, but we are working
hard. The Western Cape is having the most attacks (645 attacks and 21 murders),
we rely on provinces to help tackle this. KZN shows 326 attacks and 11 murders," says Phieyga.
"In Gauteng for this period, 132 officers were attacked and 19 were killed."
Meanwhile, back to the official stats...
Robbery with aggravating circumstances has
also increased significantly by 8.5%.
There were 118 963 reported cases in the
last financial year, which has risen to 129 045 for the financial year 2014/15.
Phiyega is now talking about the concentration
of crime and the distribution of foreign nationals around the country.
“When you look at the stats performances of
Limpopo, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and partly Western Cape and KZN, you understand the
pressures on policing.
“The Saps crime intelligence has tracked
foreign nationals from 13 countries that have contributed to various types of
Those countries are: Nigeria, Zimbwabwe,
Mozambique, Somali, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Ethopia, Basotho, DRC Congo, Tanzania,
Bulgaria, Malawi, and China.
“The drug master plan is not fully
implemented and more needs to be done for coordination and securing of
commitment by departments,” says Phiyega.
There has been a constant upsurge in
confiscations, manufacturing factories and imports, Phiyega continues.
“SA has graduated to a manufacturer,
consumer and transit state and has no impactful and integrated strategy across
the [drug] value chain.”
From 2014 to date we have 237 South
Africans arrested elsewhere as drug mules. Interpol reported about 300 drug
couriers enroute to SA.
Back to Parliament, Riah Phiyega is still
addressing police methodology:
With regards to Taxi Violence:
Drivers for crime - Route disputes,
licenses, leadership contestations, BRT/IRT issues, control of new ranks in
newly developed commercial precincts, inadequate by law enforcement by
“We feel those type of issues are not areas
we are primarily responsible for. Something could be done around optimising
regulatory framework because we may then find crimes related will be reduced.”
One of the standout stats indicates that
carjackings have gone up by a significant 14.2%
Cases reported in the last financial year were
11 180, and has gone up to 12 773 this financial year.
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