South Africa’s 2019/2020 police crime statistics revealed that, at least one in three people die of gun shots in Gauging province, as and the murder rate continues on its nine-year upward trend.
South Africa’s opposition parties: the Democratic Alliance (DA), the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the Congress of The People (Cope) said the government was losing the battle against criminals.
It was reported that between April 2019 and March 2020, 4,555 people were murdered in Gauteng, an increase of 60 over the previous year.
Back in 2011/2012 Gauteng had only 2 995 murders. Nationally, there were 21,325 murders – a 1,4% increase from 2018/2019.
Minister of Police, Bheki Cele did said there were some positive trends in the statistics. He said: “Fellow South Africans, the crime statistics for 2019/2020 reflects the slowing down of the increase in violent crimes”.
In fact, Institute of Security Studies (ISS) researcher, Andrew Faull pointed out that if South Africa’s population growth was taken into consideration, the murder rate would have been closer to zero. He said this was a possible sign that certain crime fighting initiatives were bearing fruit.
What could be impacting those crime rates is the cleaning up of the Hawks, the attempts to sort out crime intelligence are positive and in some areas police are making an effort to focus resources”.
The report indicated that domestic violence accounted for 16% of all murders where a motive had been identified.
Nationally, vigilantism accounted for 13% of murders, armed robberies for 11%, and gang-related violence for 905 killings.
Other violent crimes have also shown year on year increases. Gauteng saw a 4.1% rise in attempted murders and a 1.1% increase in rape. Car hijackings rose by 16.1%.
House robberies in Gauteng fell by 11% and there wasn’t a single bank robbery recorded in 2019/2020 and cash in transit robberies also did not go up.
The ISS justice and violence prevention head, Gareth Newham said because most crimes are committed in known hotspots, police can use this to their advantage. “
He noted that murder and armed robbery are not randomly distributed but have again been focused around known risk areas.
He disclosed that this means the police should have the ability to apply crime intelligence and analysis plus evidence-based practices and targeted interventions to address these most serious crimes.
According to the crime statistics, at least 7,351 people were murdered with a firearm in 2019/2020 while two years earlier, it was 6,551.
Claire Taylor, a researcher at Gun Free South Africa (GFSA) said over the last year, knives were used in at least 4,531 murders.
“Guns make up 34.5% of all murders in South Africa, and this is related to the fact that guns are much more lethal. For example with domestic violence, if a woman is attacked in a domestic violence situation, where there is a gun present she has a 12 to 18 times greater chance of dying,”
GFSA called for authorities to take steps to reduce existing stockpiles of legal and illegal guns and prevent new guns from entering the market.
Mandatory reporting of gunshot injuries by health centres was also recommended by GFSA, saying this would allow authorities to track gun violence in real time and quickly identify hotspots.
In his presentation yesterday to MPs, the head of the crime register in the police, Lt-Gen. Norman Sekhukhune said KwaZulu-Natal is the murder capital with 4,859 murders followed by Gauteng with 4,555 murders, with the Western Cape sitting at 3,975 and the Eastern Cape with 3,879 murders and rapes increased by 1.7% to 42,289.
Meanwhile, Sekhukhune said there has been a decline in the murder of women from 2,771 women killed in 2018/19 to 2, 695 murdered in 2019/20.
The killing of children declined from 1 014 to 943 murders. Sekhukhune said the figures of gender-based violence were preliminary with the police to go back and verify the numbers at police stations following the lockdown due to Covid-19.