Cele: ‘We must all have sleepless nights’

While there has been a 3.9% decrease in stock theft, police minister Bheki Cele also reported that 19 people died on farms and smallholdings in SA in the last three months of 2020

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While claiming that some farm murders in the last three months of 2020 were committed by farmers themselves, police minister Bheki Cele did not divulge detailed information about these incidents.

Cele made this claim while announcing the latest quarterly crime statistics. He said, “While most of the people died at the hands of criminals, unfortunately some of those were killed by farm owners or farm managers.”

He furthermore said Mzansi has seen a 6.6% increase in murders between October and December 2020. In the 18 incidents on farms and smallholdings, 19 people were killed.

Trucking industry

Stock theft has decreased by 3.9%, Cele said, while property related crimes decreased by nearly 16%. In stark contrast, the country’s trucking industry saw an increase in crime involving trucks and delivery vans. In most of these cases, courier vans carrying food, appliances and other valuable goods were targeted.

There has also been an increase in rape statistics, said Cele. Police stations in Inanda and Umlazi in KwaZulu-Natal and Lusikiki in the Eastern Cape recorded the highest incidents of rape.

Overall, 12 218 people were raped in the last three months of last year alone, said Cele. “This is a bad figure. This is an increase of 181 cases, amounting to a 1.5% increase compared to the previous reporting period.”

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The minister further explained that 4 900 rapes occurred at the home of either the victim or rapist.

‘We are trying our best’

While 570 of these cases related to domestic violence, the majority of rape incidents involved women. Twenty-three of the rape victims were male.

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Cele said, “As the SAPS we are motivated that numeral life sentences have been handed down for crimes committed against women and children. In the three months of the reporting period, the SAPS secured 139 life sentences.

“I really hope that these jail terms also reassure the victims of gender-based violence of our efforts as law enforcement to bring them to justice, but also assures the society out there that we are trying our best.”

Looking ahead, Cele said business as usual wasn’t an option. “We must all have sleepless nights over these crime numbers. We must exert ourselves in the quest to deliver our mandate as the SAPS, which is to protect and serve the people of this country. This is a matter of life and death and complacency won’t be tolerated.”

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