KZN: SOUTH AFRICA’S MURDER CAPITAL
Twelve people killed a day in the province, mainly women and children
KWAZULU-Natal is the murder capital of South Africa, with an average of 12 people a day being killed.
The province also ranks first in the country for the murder of women and children. The statistics show that 665 women, 91 girls and 130 boys were murdered between April 2017 and March 2018 in KwaZulu-Natal.
The total number of murders recorded for the same time period is a staggering 4 382. This is followed by Gauteng with 4 233 and the Eastern Cape with 3 815 for the same time period. These shocking crime statistics were revealed by Police Minister Bheki Cele in Parliament yesterday.
Statistics revealed 20 336 murders nationally. This means on average, 56 people are killed in South Africa each day.
Nyanga police station in Western Cape reported the highest number of murder cases, while uMlazi police station in KwaZulu-Natal came in a close second with 223 murders.
Other KwaZulu-Natal police stations that featured among the top 30 with the highest number of murder cases included Inanda, KwaMashu, Plessislaer, Mariannhill and Mpumalanga.
Trio crimes which include carjackings, residential robberies and business robberies have recorded a decrease.
However, almost 10 000 cases relating to trio crimes were reported in the province, leaving KwaZulu-Natal as the second most dangerous province after Gauteng.
More than 7 200 cases of rape were reported in KwaZulu-Natal. Although Inanda and uMlazi police stations reported a decrease in the number of rape cases from the previous year, they still ranked number one in the country in the current period.
Inanda had 278 rape cases and uMlazi 252.
Sexual offence crimes increased overall by 3.2% from the previous year to 8 759 cases in the current period.
Overall, 207 more rapes were reported than the previous year, with a total of 40 035 rapes reported in the country. KwaZulu-Natal also ranked number one in the country with the highest number of robberies at food outlets. A visibly upset Cele said the dismal crime statistics, including the high murder rate, had forced him to put the SAPS management’s “head on the block”.
“This situation must be arrested with the swiftness it deserves and it must be reversed with lightning speed,” Cele said.
“The worst thing we can do, which cannot be done in my tenure in this office, is to come and give the same crime stats next year or worse to what we’ve currently have.”
Cele said the murder figure was akin to that of a “war zone”.
“The SAPS will declare upfront that somewhere, somehow we dropped the ball,” he said.
He said the focus now should not be on casting blame for the increase in murders but on how they could “collectively pick up the ball”.
He admitted he was the “carrier of bad news and depressing stories that should not be heard”.
Cele said while there had been success in bringing some crimes down, the high murder rate meant South Africans would continue to feel unsafe.
“It doesn’t matter what figures you put out. If you can’t control the murder cases we are not bringing joy to the South African people,” Cele said.
Gareth Newham, an analyst with the Institute for Security Studies, said the murder increase was the biggest since the beginning of democracy and was a reliable indicator of the state of violence in the country.
“The violence against women and children has increased and if this is not addressed urgently then we will experience this for a long time.
Children who grow up around violence are four times more likely to possess violent behaviour in their adulthood,” he said.
Newham said police alone would not be able to solve the problem and encouraged social workers, teachers and NGOs to unite in the fight against crime.
While the statistics painted a bleak picture, Newham commended Cele and his team who presented the statistics to Parliament, saying “there is hope”. “We were encouraged by the way the statistics were released. There was no blame game and no one tried to manipulate the statistics like in previous years.
“They showed the police’s willingness to think differently and openness to work together with communities. They straight away spoke about the murder rate and admitted it was a problem,” Newham said.
KwaZulu-Natal Community Safety MEC Mxolisi Kaunda vowed to strengthen the partnership between the police and the community to ensure that crime was reduced drastically in the province.
Provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi said the biggest challenge was the high murder rate in the province.
“Most of the murders are committed in the vicinity of liquor outlets and taverns and we will be focusing more on the enforcement of the Liquor Act at these places.” He said there would also be focused operations targeted at seizing dangerous weapons.
POLICE Minister Bheki Cele had it right from the outset yesterday, as he addressed MPs in Parliament: the 2017/18 crime statistics were no source of joy. He went further: 57 murders a day bordered on a war zone.
There was no sugar-coating our crime statistics, Cele knew that. Law-abiding citizens feel threatened, no matter the statistics or any downward arrows. People will not be comforted until they sense a significant reduction in the constant, ubiquitous menace of crime.
Reported crimes may be down by 76 163 from the previous year, but there were still 1 662 815 in 2017/18 (4 555 a day). This remains alarming.
In 2017/18, 20 336 people were murdered – 1 320 (6.9%) more than the previous year. This was the highest annual murder toll in the last decade. KwaZulu-Natal took the undesirable provincial title of most murders: 4 382, 368 more than the previous year.
Then there were sexual offences: 50 108, or an average of 137 daily. In KZN, it was 8 759. Rape was dominant in this category, a source of immense shame to our country.
Power to Cele’s hand, then, in directing and energising police to re-establish respect for the law and those who enforce it.