/ 23 November 2022

Quality of police recruits questioned as rape stats spike by 11%

Police 0564 Dv
In the current financial year, which ends on 31 March 2023, the police has budgeted for the recruitment of 10 000 new officers. Photo: Delwyn Verasamy

The quality of the police’s 10 000 new recruits to effectively deal with violent crimes was questioned in parliament after rape cases spiked by 1 074 in the three months from July to September. 

Sexual assaults climbed by 1 319 to 13 283 during the quarter, compared with the same period last year.

These figures were released in parliament by senior police officers, led by national commissioner Fannie Masemola

Violent contact crimes — including murder, sexual assault, attempted murder and armed robbery — increased by 18.5%, or from 137 145 to 162 518 from July to Sepetmber compared with the same period last year.

Murder cases stood at 7 004, a 13.6% rise compared with July to September 2021. 

Police Minister Bheki Cele said he was worried because rape cases could not be policed, with 5 083 happening at a residence known by the victim, compared with 2 439 in public places such as parks or in buses and taxis. This was from a sample size of 8 227 rapes. 

Cele said this represented more than half of rape cases being reported by people who know their assailants, “where people are supposed to be safe in those houses”. 

“That also includes the murders, including the murder of women and including the murder of children. [Although] we’re not defining all of them individually, but we have surely seen the increase of children that die in the hands of their parents,” Cele said.

He was alluding to Nomboleko Simayile, who was arrested last week for allegedly bludgeoning her four children to death with a sledgehammer. Simayile died in hospital on Sunday, three days after collapsing in the Ngcobo magistrate’s court during her first appearance.

Andrew Whitfield, of the Democratic Alliance, said the statistics showed that a “bloodbath of violent crime remains out of control across the country” and that violence had escalated since President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed Cele as minister in 2018. 

“When he was elected into office, President Ramaphosa promised to halve violent crime within 10 years. He is now almost half way through this 10-year period and violent crime has increased exponentially because the truth is that the president is soft on crime,” Whitfield said.

Zandile Majozi, an Inkatha Freedom Party MP, said the country would not win the war against crime because of rampant corruption in the police service, which she said was the result of recruiting officers who “don’t have the passion to be police officers”.

“It’s as if they are just there for their salaries; they are just there for employment,” shesaid. 

In the current financial year, which ends on 31 March 2023, the police has budgeted for the recruitment of 10 000 new officers, but Majozi said the training was substandard.

Cele rejected her “sweeping statement” that the police service was corrupt, insisting that officers were being killed by criminals “for doing their jobs”. 
Cele acknowledged that “there are bad apples within the police” but said they were being rooted out, pointing to the arrest of two officers linked to the assassination of ANC eThekwini councillor Mnqobi Molefe in connection with the R5 billion Lower Mkomazi water project.