In the wake of the release of disappointing crime stats on Tuesday by Police Minister Bheki Cele and his team in parliament, which saw a jump in the overall murder rate, the DA has again slammed the ANC for allegedly failing to keep the country safe.
Gareth Newham from the Institute for Security Studies, however, said following the release of the stats that he was nevertheless impressed with the forthrightness of the new SAPS management, who he said had taken an evidence-based approach to fighting crime and were being honest about the challenge facing the country.
However, DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard said she was concerned that government was planning to cut back on police staff to save money, despite the fact that violent crime had increased.
In a statement, DA shadow minister of police Zakhele Mbhele said the annual crime stats were “a devasting reminder of how the ANC government is losing the battle to keep South Africans safe”.
He said the party had its priorities wrong by allegedly spending an average of R9.1 million on protecting VIPs in government “but only R1 500 per South African resident” per year.
“It means that the ANC government is more interested in executive elite protection and comfort over the safety of our communities,” he added.
National police commissioner General Khehla Sitole had earlier revealed to parliament’s portfolio committee on police:
- Murder had increased by 6.9% or by four more people per day. This meant 56 people were murdered in South Africa every day;
- Rape had increased by 0.5%, or by seven more people per day, meaning that 109 people were raped every day;
- Tesidential burglaries had decreased by 7.5%, but it still meant that 625 homes were burgled every day; and
- Cash-in-transit heists had increased by 56.6%, which equated to almost one heist per day.
Mbhele said he accepted that “VIPs should receive a reasonable modicum of protection”, but it was unacceptable that the ANC had chosen to allocate billions to protect VIPs rather than increase what was being spent to keep ordinary South Africans safe.
“A significant amount of what is spent on VIPs could be invested to create a professional and effective police service which can turn the tide against crime in our country. Clearly, the ANC has no plan to fight crime.”