Crime warning for parents in South Africa

 ·25 Feb 2024

South Africa has recorded a concerning increase in violent crimes committed on the premises of educational institutions across the country, and there are calls for the Department of Basic Education (DBE) to do more to curb these statistics.

Police Minister Bheki Cele presented the latest South African Police Service (SAPS) crime statistics for the third quarter of the 2023/24 year (October to December 2023) last week, indicating the current levels of crime in the country.

Overall, contact crime (crimes against another person) increased by 3.8% compared to the prior period.

Murders increased by 2.1% – leading to 155 more murders compared to Q3 2022/23 – while assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily (5.8%), common assault (0.4%), common robbery (3.9%) and robbery with aggravating circumstances (6.6%) also increased.

Additionally, Sexual offences (-11.0%), including rape (-1.7%), decreased compared to the prior period. However, attempted sexual offences increased by 1.3%.

Although these statistics are a good sign, they took a turn for the worse for learners, teachers, and other personnel at educational institutions.

According to Democratic Alliance (DA), over the same period, there were seven murders, 24 attempted murders, 252 cases of assault/grievous bodily harm (GBH), and 61 rapes on the premises of schools, universities, colleges, and daycare/aftercare facilities.

Throughout 2023, the total number of murders and rapes reportedly committed on the premises of educational institutions reached 34 and 290, respectively.

“If we consider that not all instances of rapes and cases of sexual abuse are reported, the number of gender-based violence (GBV) victims might be much higher,” said the DA.

Compounding the concerns for parents and schools is the increased hijacking at school events.

Speaking to eNCA, Tracker COO Duma Ngcobo noted that while shopping malls remain a primary hotspot for thefts in South Africa, the data has flagged sporting and schooling events as another hotspot for hijackings and car thefts nationwide.

Some notable examples of this trend are evident, with a deputy principal having been shot and injured during an attempted hijacking at a school in Durban, while a principal was kidnapped during a hijacking at a school in the Free State.

The DA has called for the DBE to do much more to ensure that learners, teachers, and other personnel are safe at schools.

“Every learner deserves a safe space that facilitates a conducive learning environment and provides them with the necessary skills to have prosperous and happy futures,” it said.

Read: Trouble for private school fees in South Africa

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