Rise in murders, but Bheki Cele says heads will not roll

2019-09-12 16:52
Minister of Police Bheki Cele briefing the media. (Ethan Van Diemen, News24)

Minister of Police Bheki Cele briefing the media. (Ethan Van Diemen, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Even though contact crimes increased for another year, heads will not roll among the police's top brass as Police Minister Bheki Cele wants police to reverse the trend.

On Thursday, Cele and the police presented the crime statistics for the period April 1, 2018, to March 31, 2019, to the Portfolio Committee on Police. He then addressed the media.

The statistics showed that there were 21 022 murders in the year - 686 more than the previous year and an increase of 3.4%. The previous year, there were 1 320 more murders than the year before.

At last year's briefing, Cele said his and the police's top brass' "heads are on the block" if they fail to bring down the alarming murder statistics.

Asked at the press briefing on Thursday when, and which, heads would roll, Cele said: "I said, we'll never be worse than where we were last year. The worst we can do is begin to stagnate and then begin to reverse. That's why I made that point. I gave the figure: we have halved the figure that we have increased with last year. 1320 to 686," Cele said.

"So, indeed, we are not where we want to be, but we are not where we were last time. So we believe we have stagnated. Ours now is to reverse.

"So, the heads can't roll because they are expected to shift back. They have managed to stop. They'll have to reverse. So allow the heads to reverse the situation. Especially on some of the areas."

He pointed out that cash-in-transit heists and truckjackings were down from the previous year.  

"On fear crimes: It is interesting that nobody speaks on cash heists anymore. It's very interesting, because it is a question I had to answer big time last year," he said.

"I think we need to look at it broader and say: 'Yes, team, you are not as good as we want you to be, but you are not as bad as you were. So for that reason, the heads must be given an opportunity to work and we'll [see] that they do better things. From our side, as a ministry, we do not see a reason that [heads] must roll now."

Cele pointed out to the committee that in the 2000s, murders decreased yearly by about 1 000 annually, until it reached a low of 15 554 in 2011/2012.

"It was not the worst of times, it was not the best of times, because 15 000 people have died," he said.

From 2012/2013 onwards, the number of murders steadily increased. Cele said they should find out why that happened.

At the press briefing, he said they wanted to revive measures used around 2011/2012, including a tracking team, which went after the most wanted criminals, and an increase in visible policing.

Cele didn't mention that he was the national commissioner of police until October 2011. 

About 60% of murders occurred over weekends.

Cele said perhaps sociologists or criminologists could help them determine why "people suddenly, on weekends, behave like they come from the moon".

At the briefing, he was asked if he supported stricter regulation of alcohol.

"I don't wine and dine, I dine," he said, adding that, as a teetotaller, he couldn't speak with much authority about the issue but that alcohol fuelled crime.

He said there is a Bill about increasing the legal drinking age from 18 to 21. But if it were up to him, he would increase the age to 30.

Read more on:    saps  |  bheki cele  |  crime

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.