Speaking to the media after the release of the annual crime statistics released in Parliament on Tuesday, National Police commissioner Riah Phiyega said the province with the highest murder rate increase in the country was Gauteng. Over 17 000 people were killed around the country.
With 3 671 people killed in the province between April 1 2014 and March 2015, up 346 murders from the year before, Gauteng recorded a 10.4% increase in this contact crime.
Phiyega said Gauteng’s murder rate was followed by the Western Cape, which recorded a 9.7% increase, with 3 186 people killed in the province in the year under review. “The third one is Limpopo, with 6.7% and the forth was Kwazulu Natal with 5.4% increase.”
Phiyega revealed that in Gauteng, 49 of the murders were committed by children between the ages of 10 and 17, while 884 were by youths aged 18 to 35.
The national commissioner said although the Western Cape was only the fourth highest contributor to the changes recorded nationally overall, of the 10 top stations contributing towards the highest murders, eight were from the Western Cape.
“The highest recorded was Nyanga with 300, two KZN ones, followed by seven other Western Cape ones, including Delft, Khayelitsha, Harare, Kraaifontein and Mitchells Plain. So there are challenges in terms of that.”
The Northern Cape recorded a 5.5% decrease in murder, with 413 people killed in the year under review, compared to 437 the year before.
Police Minister Nathi Nhleko reiterated that crime was not just for the police to solve, but needed everyone to get involved. “Murder takes place among acquaintances, within families kind of social setups. Therefore the question of dealing with murder in our society will require a social effort and a social approach to actually deal with it. Because all that police can do, and do, is that the matter of a murder case gets reported and police then investigate accordingly and take the case for prosecution.
“We need to dissuade ourselves from thinking that the reduction of the murder rate in our society is what police must do and we have got nothing to do with it. Because it’s wrong to think like that. We have got everything to do with it. We need to raise our children in a particular way.”
He said there needed to be an impact in the manner in which matters of society were governed. “Not to embrace a violent society for example. It is a matter that requires effective partnerships to deal with this particular [crime].” Nhleko said the same applied for all kinds of contact crimes, which include attempted murder and sexual assault.
Media has critical role to play
Phiyega said the media had a role to play in crime prevention. Earlier, she told the committee that sometimes copy cats were borne out of media reports. At the press conference, she said there was a lot of copycatting that took place. “I really believe that media has a critical role to work with us, to assist us. To ensure that more awareness of how communities can protect themselves, how you can avoid crime, some of the hotspots. There is a partnership that is unavoidable in that regard.
“But there is also copycatting, which we must then look into to start saying do we compromise certain things in the manner that we report because it may accelerate interest in criminals to do particular things,” said Phiyega. The office of the ANC chief whip in Parliament said the statistics illustrated that while the country continued to make progress in fighting crime, “[it] remains a serious challenge that requires joint efforts by all stakeholders to tackle and eradicate”.
“We remain concerned by a slight increase in contact crimes and contact related crimes such as murder, attempted murder and arson which have marginally rose by 0.9%. These stubborn forms of crime require concerted multi-pronged interventions, which must include joint efforts by all stakeholders, to radically turn the situation around,” the party said in a statement.
“Despite the destruction of millions of illegal guns by the police, which contributed to 1.6% decrease in illegal gun circulation, there are still many guns in wrong hands which requires serious attention. Violent attacks against our people, including killings of police officers, must be fought fiercely and aggressively as part of our endeavors to build safer communities.”
The ANC said perpetrators of such monstrous crimes must be squeezed completely out of society.