Police Minister Fikile Mbalula on Tuesday announced a general 1.8% decrease in crime but remained scathing of efforts to curb violence.
The crime statistics released in Parliament show that robberies are the highest they have been in a decade at 6% and are the cause of most aggravated contact crimes.
Although the “most policeable crime”, Mbalula has announced that robbery will be treated as a “serious focus area” with a new police station operating in the Cape Flats for instance. He also said that this year’s statistics are indicative of police efforts which he said are “lazy” in deterring crime.
“Crime is in general down, but when you zoom into the numbers, we have a big problem where violent crime is going up, and there is no time to hide this,” Mbalula said.
Murder and attempted murder increased by 1.8% and 0.4% respectively. Drug-related crime increased by 12.9% and the “trio crimes”, which are a subcategory of aggravated robbery and include carjacking and robbery at residential and non-residential premises, increased by 4.6%.
Looking at the financial year of 2016-17, Mbalula reported that of the approximately 2.1-million serious contact crimes recorded, 1 738 980 were listed as community-reported serious crimes. Overall, serious crimes has had a decrease of 1.8% from the previous year, with decreases in total sexual offences by 4.3%, contact-related crime by 3.3%, contact crime by 2.4%, other serious crime by 2.0% and property-related crime by 0.5%.
Time for change
“We need to stop inertia and innovate,” said the police minister who has called for change in dealing with crime from “speedily dealing with dockets”, to opposing bail applications on rape and serious offence crimes, to looking at the prison system and stopping the “repeat offender phenomenon”. The police minister is determined to make sure that every South African feels safe by 2030 and has promised citizens that they will “have no fear of crime [and] are properly served by the police and courts”.
“Ulibambe Lingashoni – I am coming for you hard, enough is enough,” said Mbalula, translating his own words, as he warned criminal gangs.
With additional and more efficient policing, Mbalula also plans to take on alcoholism – a contributing factor to contact crime. Mbalula has noted this issue with concern from a fact from the department of health that South Africa is “the 10th most drunkard nation in the world.”