On Sunday morning, Police Minister Bheki Cele, welcomed a general decrease in serious and violent crimes. Cele says this is due to the prohibition of the sale and movement of liquor since the COVID-19 nationwide lockdown.
According to a SAPS media statement, “The 2019-2020 National Crime Statistics are yet to be officially released by the Minister of Police to Parliament at a later stage this year. Therefore, the analysis done currently is a preliminary report that is yet to undergo the necessary verification and endorsements.”
When comparing the first week of the lockdown to the same time in 2019, Minister Cele confirmed that:
- murder cases decreased from 326 to 94;
- rape cases decreased from 699 to 101;
- cases of assault with intention to inflict grievous bodily harm, decreased from 2 673 to 456 and
- trio crimes decreased from 8 853 to 2 098.
The trio crimes include vehicle hijacking, business and house robberies.
With regard to Gender-Based-Violence crimes, Minister Cele confirmed that the number of complaints is still high and very worrying.
Since 27 March, which is when Lockdown started until 31 March, over 2 300 calls/complaints have been registered and 148 suspects were charged. Between January 2020 and 31 March, 15 924 calls/complaints was confirmed.
“Once all reports have been consolidated, the figures will be measured against the number of calls/complaints received through the GBV Command Centre in 2019, where the figure stands at 87 920.”
Minister Cele said, “Considering the improved rate of life sentences secured by the FCS Units in the past, one is optimistic that police will continue to work around the clock towards securing successful convictions and long term sentences of perpetrators of crimes against women and children. This should remain the practice even beyond the lockdown as GBV remains a scourge across the country.”
He added, “The decrease in the number of complaints which were high over the first days of the lockdown, reflects stabilisation and confirms that people are now beginning to understand the lockdown and are complying with the Regulations, and that people are now cooperating with the members of the law enforcement entities.”
Minister Cele concluded saying, “The SAPS, SANDF, Metro Police and other law enforcement agencies will remain on high alert to ensure maximum adherence to the Lockdown Regulations.”