Murder, rape and sexual offences were the contact crimes that showed the highest increase in the three months from July to September, according to the latest quarterly crime statistics published on Friday.
In the three-month period 6 163 murders occurred, a 20.7% increase from the same period last year, and 9 556 rapes were reported, a rise of 7.1%. The number of sexual offences was 11 964, up 4.7%.
“The recent crime data is again demonstrating that South Africa is a violent country,” Police Minister Bheki Cele said when he presented the quarterly crime statistics.
“Rape, again, bad news and a bad figure. With almost 10 000 people being brutalised and sexually violated in just three months in South Africa, it is a disgrace and deeply disturbing.”
He said 3 951 of the rapes occured at the home of the victim or that of the rapist. Liquor and drugs were involved in 1 383 of the cases, and 400 of the cases were domestic violence-related.
“These statistics show they [rape victims] are often violated by people they know and trust in the comfort of their own homes or in places they thought they were safe. This is terrible and a bad trend,” Cele said.
According to the Sowetan, 934 babies were born to girls aged 10 and 14 in Gauteng between April last year and March this year, pointing to rape or statutory rape.
Cele said the Temba police station in Gauteng, Thohoyandou police station in Limpopo, Lusikisiki police station in the Eastern Cape and Inanda police station in KwaZulu-Natal recorded the highest reports of rape.
In the latest data, arson recorded the highest increase among contact-related crimes, with 1 284 cases, which represented a 30.2% year-on-year increase. There were 27 704 cases of malicious damage to property, up 6.5% over the same quarter last year.
Cele said the contact-related crimes illustrated “the extent of wanton looting, arson, damage to property and loss of life that occurred during the July unrest”, referring to the looting and vandalism initially triggered by protests against former president Jacob Zuma’s jailing for contempt of court.
Fifteen murders occurred on farms and small-holdings between July and September. This is two more murders, compared with the previous reporting period.
There were 2 000 kidnapping cases reported with the majority high-jacking related, followed by kidnappings, which were linked to robbery and rape.
Out of a sample of 620 cases, 52 kidnapping cases involved a ransom demand and most occurred in Gauteng. Seven kidnappings were linked to human trafficking.
“While the crime picture painted here today is not ideal, it is certainly getting better with time, planning and the deployment of resources where they are needed most,” Cele said.
Anathi Madubela is an Adamela Trust business reporter at the M&G.