South Africa’s high incidences of crime have left many on alert during the lockdown period. However, according to Minister of Police Bheki Cele, there has been a notable decrease in the number of crimes reported. These crimes that have decreased include cash-in-transit heists, house robberies and bank robberies.
In an interview with eNCA on Tuesday, July 28 Cele added that the country’s crime statistics are not a true reflection of how the affected communities feel. He also added that there may be a breakdown of trust between police and residents in some 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,” Cele said. “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.”
According to Cele, the South African Police Service (SAPS) is limited in reacting to crimes which are committed in the homes of members of the public. He also highlighted that there were 38 000 cases of women being raped across the country last year. These were often reported to take place in their homes, or other spaces of safety.
“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,” he said. “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 requested that community members report abuse or violence before a crime is committed. “Unfortunately, the police come at the tail end, react, and arrest you – but someone is already gone,” he said.
Cele added that officers will receive special training in order to work with citizens who have been victims of rape and other violent crimes.
Enforcement operations are also expected to intensify during the national state of disaster.
These will include measures such as:
– 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
– The conducting of static roadblocks on all national routes and major routes in order to monitor, control & 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 a Parlimenatary presentation. “The current state of policing needs no political gymnastics but it requires cooperation and working together for a common goal.”