Cape Town – The ANC's caucus in Parliament views the crime statistics released by Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula on Tuesday as proof "that the ANC government’s crime-fighting efforts continue to bear fruit".
In a statement, ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu noted that the statistics reflected a 4% drop in the number of rapes reported to police in 2016/2017, compared to the previous year.
Contact crime has gone down by 3.3%, while assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm has gone down by 6.7%.
"While we continue to make progress in our crime-fighting efforts, the rise of 1.8% in the murder rate and 0.4% in attempted murders remain cause for concern," read Mthembu's statement.
"The shocking increase of 6.4% in aggravated robbery and 14.5% in carjacking countrywide is indicative of a society that is increasingly becoming unsafe and more violent."
"Crime remains a serious challenge that requires joint efforts by all stakeholders to tackle and eradicate. We, therefore, call on all South Africans to work with SAPS in their communities to ensure that crimes are reported and that necessary assistance is provided in order for SAPS to carry out their work."
He said fighting crime remains one of the ANC government's top priorities.
"We are confident that government will indeed continue to deepen its progressive crime-fighting strategies in this regard, to ensure that South Africans are not only safe but also feel safe."
'Unprofessional, inefficient and unreliable'
EFF MP and spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said the statistics only give a limited idea of the crime levels, as they only rely on reported cases.
"The crimes of sexual assault, in particular against children, are underrepresented by these stats for the obvious reason that many victims do not report to the police," said Ndlozi in a statement.
"Most importantly, the reductions as stated are not necessarily a reflection of the SAPS' ability to combat crime."
He said the statistics that would matter, if public confidence and trust in the police are to be restored, are those of reported crimes that were resolved.
"This includes the efficiency in terms of speed and precision. Our police are amongst the most unprofessional, inefficient and unreliable public servants with little ability to investigate and combat crimes."
"Our society's levels of crime signify the inhuman condition of high unemployment and poverty in a country of first world proportions of wealth. This condition of living amidst high levels of super wealth whilst many suffer in squalor and poverty, is a great assault to the humanity of our people, in particular, black people. This means until there is economic emancipation, there will never be any resolution to violent crime."
"Finally, the crimes of sexual assault will remain, even if economic freedom can come tomorrow, because of patriarchal domination that privileges male sexual power and pleasure," he said.
"Thus, there must be a war against patriarchy and all forms of sexual violence from all corners of society and not just the police if we are to win against rapists and other sex offenders."
Here's what people had to say on the crime stats: