However, the raw figures for the total number of sexual offences showed an increase from the 2011/12 figure of 64,514 to 66,387 in 2012/13.
Mthethwa’s spokesman Zweli Mnisi later explained that population growth had to be taken into account when considering the figures.
Speaking at the release of the annual crime statistics in Pretoria, Mthethwa said rape had decreased by 0.4 percent over the past financial year.
“Nonetheless, we want to reiterate the point that we are still unhappy and concerned about the levels of rape in the country,” he said.
“Protection of communities is now central to our strategies that are aimed at reducing incidences of gender-based violence.”
Sexual assault decreased by 6.2 percent over the same period, after increasing during the preceding three years.