The month of June seems to have ushered in an unwanted surge in murder crimes after a quietness between March and May.
Police Minister Bheki Cele revealed this during a press briefing at the Jabulani Hostel in Soweto on Tuesday.
The Minister was in the area after six men were shot and killed on Monday evening. Police are now searching for three men who are suspected to be linked to the crime.
During the briefing, Cele spoke about two women who were, during this week, brutally murdered in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Naledi Phangindawo, 25, was allegedly heinously hacked to death by a man deemed to be close to her. The suspect has been arrested since the murder. In Soweto, Tshegofatso Pule, 28, was found on Monday, hanging from a tree in Roodepoort where she had gone missing on Thursday.
“Nationally we’d sit back and complain about 30 people that have died,” said the Minister.
This was until last Monday 1 June, when the ban on alcohol during the lockdown was lifted.
“Until Monday – the 1st of June – which is not an entirely dangerous day, for the first time since the lockdown, we got reports of 40 people killed. The next day there were 51 murders and there were 69 this past Sunday,” he said.
During this period police were averaging between 20 and 30 murder cases a day.
“That has now just gone up, including attempted murder, the abuse of women and violence against women,” he said.
“It’s an issue that we raise as police and law enforcement, that perpetrators of crime are well known to the victims. By the look of things, both these ladies were killed by people known to them. I’m not confirming that, the investigations are ongoing,” he said.
He emphasised that it is difficult for law enforcement to curb domestic violence. This, he said, was because police are not able to monitor people’s behaviour in their homes.
He pleaded with men, communities and families to report suspiciously abusive relationships. He said this would ensure that police are proactive in responding in their action.