Thursday, 12 September 2019

Cape Town: Police Minister Bheki Cele says plans to increase Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Units are underway as police announced an increase in reported sexual offences cases.

The Minister said this in a media briefing shortly after releasing the annual crime statistics in Parliament on Thursday.

“Plans to increase the number of Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) Units countrywide and to recruit and train more women officers to work within this specialised environment are underway.

“To further fight the scourge of violence against women, we have heeded President Ramaphosa’s call to reopen the investigation of all cold cases of gender-based crimes in the country,” he said.

This as Major General Norman Sekhukhune told members of the Portfolio Committee on Police that police recorded 52 420 sexual offences between April 2018 and March 2019, up by 2 312 when compared to the previous financial year.

The Minister said FCS units continue to be one of the best within the South African Police Service (SAPS), with the fundamental responsibility to protect and serve women children and vulnerable groups.

“The FCS has 185 units to deal with gender-based violence including sexual offences. In the 2018/19 financial year, the FCS recorded 658 life sentences out of 504 registered cases. It is through the highly specialised investigative work that 387 suspects were sentenced to 20 years and above,” he said. 

Sexual offences against children on the rise 

Briefing MPs earlier, Sekhukhune said out of the 52 420 sexual offences cases, 41 583 were cases of rape, 7 437 were reports of sexual assault. He also said that police recorded 2 146 cases of attempted sexual offences cases.

“Sexual offences against children have also increased by 899,” he said.

According to the crime statistics, which have been published on the SA Police Service website, a provincial analysis shows that sexual offences have increased in most provinces, while two provinces reported a drop in the reported cases in this category.

Mpumalanga recorded an increase of 8.5% to 3 470, while there was a 7.9% increase in cases reported in the Eastern Cape.

Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal both recorded increases of 6.3%, while the Free State, Limpopo and Northern Cape recorded increases in sexual offences cases of 5.3%, 5.1% and 2.6% respectively.

The Western Cape and the North West provinces recorded decreases in the number of sexual offences cases, by 0.5% and 3.8% respectively.

The top five police stations where sexual offences were reported are Inanda, Umlazi, Thohoyandou, Lusikisiki and Nyanga.

Murder rate increases by 1.4%

Major General Norman Sekhukhune says 21 022 people were murdered during the 12 months ending March 2019.

Sekhukhune said this when the Police Ministry appeared before the Portfolio Committee to present the annual Crime Statistics for the 2018/19 financial year on Thursday.

Briefing members of Parliament, he said in the previous year 20 336 murders were reported.

“In the current financial year, we have recorded 21 022, that is an increase of 636, or 1.4% increase in the total number of murders when compared to the previous financial year,” he said.

Police shocked by 736 murders committed by children

Sekhukhune said, meanwhile, that police have observed a disturbing statistic of reported cases where children have been murdered by other children.

“One thing that we maybe need to mention in terms of the murders that are committed by these children is that when we look at the number of times where children [found themselves on the wrong side of the law], we have observed that some of these murders by other children are committed by other children themselves.

“We have the number that shows that the murders that have been committed by these children in the current financial year are 736,” he said.

Contact crimes over a three year period

Sekhukhune said, meanwhile, that when projected over a three year period – the murder rate had increased by a rate of 3.4%.

There was a 4.6% in the cases of sexual offences that were reported to the police – from 49 660 in 2016/17 to 52 420 in 2018/19 – and this translates to 2 132 more cases of sexual assault that were reported over the past three financial years.

In the same period, attempted murder went up by 4.1% to 18 980, while assault with the intention to do grievous bodily harm increased by 2.2% to 170 979.

Sekhukhune said common assault was up by 3.7% in the period under review, common robbery was up by 2%, while robbery with aggravating circumstances was up by 1.2% over the past three years.

Overall, contact crimes were up by 2.6%, with 617 210 crimes reported.

Over 1000 killed in gang-related cases

Sekhukhune said, meanwhile, that when zooming in on causative factors, 1 727 people lost their lives as a result of a misunderstanding with their killers, while 1 115 murders were related to domestic violence.

He said 1 120 murders over the past financial year were as a result of gang-violence, while 751 deaths were as a result of armed robberies.

Some 789 people were murdered during mob justice incidents, while 321 were as a result of taxi violence.

Eight murders that were reported during this period were political killings.