Following the release of our latest crime stats at a parliamentary briefing by Police Minister Bheki Cele and head of police crime research and statistics Major General Norman Sekhukhune, Cele responded to questions from both ANC and opposition members, at one point making the claim that South Africa was the only country in the world which published crime statistics.
This may have been a mistake on the part of Cele, as this is incorrect.
Cele’s address on the latest statistics was met with questions and reactions from opposition members.
This included Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) MP Zandile Majozi asking what the police planned to do to deal with drug lords, and Freedom Front Plus (FF+) leader Pieter Groenewald asking for greater clarity on what he called inconsistencies in the farm murder statistics. Groenewald also said South Africa was clearly a violent country and that decisive steps had to be taken.
DA MP Ockert Terblanche alleged that the statistics were already out of date. He did suggest that the murder statistics were, in his view, the ones which could be relied on the most.
ANC’s Jacqueline Mofokeng called for the sexual offenders registry to be available more widely, echoing President Cyril Ramaphosa’s recent statement that he would ask parliament to adjust legislation to make the registry public.
Mofokeng said this was necessary in response to the “war on women and children” South Africa was facing.
Cele said that there was not enough time to do the issue of the crime statistics justice, and said they would be discussed in greater detail in parliament next week Wednesday.
The minister told parliament that while things could certainly be better, they could also be worse.
According to Cele, if you look at the murder rate over ten years, it is clear that there are ups and downs, and that there have been times where we have had a lower murder rate, a downward trend we, unfortunately, were not able to maintain.
Cele claimed violence against women and children, the high murder rate, and the fear that permeated SA society were the main factors that needed to be addressed in fighting crime.