Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Crime stats spat continues

That South Africans are in the dark about crime statistics must be blamed on the agenda of the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), Safety and Security Minister Nathi Mthetwa told the Mail & Guardian.

“The reason why you and I are talking about this thing is because of the agenda of the DA which says that South Africans are in the dark in terms of statistics — We are not going to be led into an agenda which has nothing to do with the fight against crime,” said Mthetwa on Thursday.

But DA spokesperson Diane Kohler-Barnard dismissed this and pointed out that former safety and security minister Charles Nqakula had promised to release the statistics every six months. Kohler-Barnard accused Mthetwa of hiding the crime statistics because they could be embarrassing to the ruling African National Congress. “How dare he abuse his position to keep us in the dark?” asked Kohler-Barnard.

Mthetwa told the M&G that crime statistics should be the concern of operational policemen who use them on daily basis as a crime-fighting tool. “The police have statistics daily. We have what we call the war crime room and this concept says that the police come together including crime intelligence and look at crime trends in each area,” he added.

He was speaking after media reports that his department had failed to release crime statistics biannually as originally promised. His spokesperson, Panyaza Lesufi, reportedly told a national radio station that releasing the statistics before an election would be perceived as an “election ploy” and added that these would only be released in September. By not releasing the results prior to the election, Lesufi added, the minister was seeking to “depoliticise” the issue of crime statistics.

Mthetwa reiterated to the M&G that he was seeking to “depolitise” the issue and added: “In future if things go according to my wish, [the crime statistics] are not going to be pronounced by the minister: people in the field will announce them.”

Clarifying his comments about wanting statistics to the public to be only released every two years he said: “The ‘two years’ thing comes from my saying that Interpol’s National Security of Members Council decided that they do not have to give fresh statistics to everybody: what they need to do is to give old statistics.”

He added that statistics are available daily but the government and the general public should only get statistics annually as part of the South African Police Service’s annual report.

Kohler-Barnard disputed this, telling the M&G that Mthetwa, in a television interview, had told South Africans that if he had his way the statistics would only be released every two years.

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them.

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

Mbeki tells ANC that land without compensation goes against the...

‘This would be a very serious disincentive to investment,’ says Thabo Mbeki in a document arguing that the ANC should not proceed with the Constitutional amendment of section 25

Micro-hydropower lights up an Eastern Cape village

There is hidden potential for small hydropower plants in South Africa

More top stories

SIU freezes R22-million in Digital Vibes accounts

The Special Investigating Unit said it would ask the tribunal to declare the health department’s contract with the company unlawful

Life-saving free train travel offered to domestic abuse victims in...

A pioneering railway scheme in the UK is helping domestic violence victims to escape their abusers by providing them with free travel to reach refuge

Oral submissions to inquiry on local government elections start next...

The hearings will be open to the media and the public, under strict level-three regulations

Education employees queue for Covid jabs, but some may have...

People who have had Covid-19 in the past 30 days or who have had a flu shot in the past 14 days will be vaccinated at a later date

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…