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July unrest contributed to the increase in murders

Police Minister Bheki Cele said on Friday that the July unrest witnessed mostly in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng contributed to the increase in murders during the second quarter of the 2021/2022 financial year.

On Friday, Cele released the quarter two crime statistics of cases reported to the South African Police Service (SAPS) from 1 July to 30 September 2021.

Cele said the second quarter statistics are compared to a corresponding period of the previous financial year.

“These crime figures are certainly not reflecting a crime holiday, they are neither as alarming as the previous quarter figures which were skewed as figures of a period that had no lockdown restrictions were compared to a period where the country was placed under hard lockdown.

“These crime data will also give the nation a glimpse of the crimes that took place during the July unrests, which were categorized by vicious destruction of infrastructure, warehouses and looting of business premises.

“These unrests also claimed the lives of 342 people in the Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces,” Cele said.

In the second quarter, a 20.7 % increase in murder was recorded, while during the same period in the previous financial year, 2019/2020, the percentage increase of the murder rate was at 13.2%, Cele said.

Between July 2021 to the end of September 2021, 6 163 people were killed in South Africa, 1 056 more people killed compared to the corresponding period in the previous financial year, the minister said.

“Compared to a period without lockdown, this would have resulted in an increase of 717 deaths,” Cele said.

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In KwaZulu-Natal a 44.4% increase in murder cases was recorded, 1 744 people were killed in the province, which was an increase of 536 compared to the same comparative period, Cele said.

“229 more people were murdered in the Gauteng province between July and September 2021,” Cele said.

The minister, however, conceded that other provinces, such as the Free State, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape and the North West, recorded double digit increases in murder cases during this reporting period.

“However, a glimmer of hope is shining through from the Western Cape province. It is the only province to record a decrease in its murder cases.

“Out of the top 30 murder stations, the Harare, Khayelitsha, Nyanga  police stations in the Western Cape, recorded decreases in their murder figures.

“We remain encouraged by the decreases and attribute them to the resourcing of policing in the Western Cape through more personnel and vehicles deployed at identified hot-spots, especially in the Cape Town metropole.

“I repeat, the Western Cape receives the lions share of policing resources and funding to bring about peace and stability.

“To date the SAPS has injected the most resources in that province and in KZN, compared to all other provinces.

“We see that from the intervention in place in the Western Cape they are beginning to bare fruit and we’re seeing a pattern of stability emerging. In this instance then the stabilisation resources would then be deployed to other hot spot provinces, including intra – provincial redistribution of resources.

“We are making a call to the province to work in conjunction with the SAPS in the utilisation of the resources they are plaughing into the fight against crime. We believe this will give us better results when we work as a collective in order to sustain what we have achieved,” Cele said.

1 334 murders occurred at the home of the victim or of the perpetrator and from a sample of 5 176 cases it was determined that a total of 2 424 people were murdered in public places such as streets, open field, parking areas and abandoned buildings, the police minister said.

424 of the murders occurred at taverns, shebeens, nightclubs and bottle stores, Cele said, adding that liquor outlets are the third most likely place to be killed in South Africa.

“A total of 23 SAPS officers were killed between July to September 2021. Most, 6, were killed in the KwaZulu-Natal province followed by Gauteng and Western Cape, each recording 4 police killings,” Cele said.

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