Police minister Bheki Cele says that there have been several areas where a notable decrease in crime has been reported.
Speaking in an eNCA interview, Cele said that the South African Police Service (SAPS) crime statistics will be published soon, but that specific reductions have been noted in:
- Cash-in-transit heists;
- Bank robberies;
- House robberies.
However, he admitted that the country’s crime statistics are not reflective of how ordinary citizens feel and that many people do not feel safe living in South Africa.
Cele said it was the job of the police to work with these people, and to address issues in the community. He added that there has been a breakdown of trust between the police and citizens in some areas, but stressed that this not the case in all areas.
“The fact that the prisons are 37% overpopulated means that the police are doing their job to send people there for a very long time.
“Of course there will be bad apples among the police family which are giving us a bad name, but there also very good police who are doing a very good job.”
Cele indicated that SAPS were also limited in reacting to crimes which are perpetrated by members of the public in the privacy of their homes.
He highlighted the fact that more than 38,000 women were raped in South Africa last year – often in their own homes and other areas where they are meant to be ‘safe’.
“Tell me what police will do in your own home, by your own husband, your boyfriend, your own uncle, your own father? Hence the call is a societal matter.
“This problem, to say that law enforcement will only deal with the matter, is really a matter that we really need to relook at.”
He called on community members to report any abuse or violent behaviour before a crime is committed.
“Unfortunately, the police come at the tail end, react, and arrest you – but someone is already gone.”
He said that officers will also receive special training towork with citizens who have dealt with rape and other violent crimes.
Cele has said that enforcement operations by the SAPS would be intensified during the country’s national state of disaster.
Presenting his departmental budget speech in a parliamentary meeting on Friday (24 July), Cele said that this would include specific measures such as:
- The conducting of static roadblocks on all national routes and major routes in order to monitor, control & ensure adherence to the regulations;
- The conducting of vehicle checkpoints, on provincial routes, regional routes, rail routes, main streets in order to monitor, control & ensure adherence to the regulations;
- The conducting of high visibility patrols to monitor, control and ensure adherence to the regulations;
- Designated investigation capacity and case management;
- Implementation of objects of policing, in accordance with S 205(3) of the constitution of the Republic of South Africa.
“We would like to call upon communities and all our strategic partners to support the police in the fight against crime moreover during this pandemic,” Cele said in his presentation.
“The current state of policing needs no political gymnastics but it requires cooperation and working together for a common goal.”