The latest crime statistics for South Africa reveals that less murders and sexual assaults have been recorded in the third quarter of 2020, compared to the same time last year. However, the numbers are still incredibly high and worrying.

Police Minister General Bheki Cele announced the Quarter two crime statistics 2020/2021 during an address in Pretoria, Gauteng on Friday, November 13. The crime figures for the second quarter reflect crimes that occurred from July 1 to the end of September 2020, and are demonstrative of a country that is enjoying fewer restrictions under the Disaster Management Act.

“On the 14th of August I stood here and spoke about a never seen before ‘rosy’ picture of a peaceful South Africa experiencing a “Crime Holiday”.That was the picture the crime statistics from 1st of April to end of June 2020 painted,” said Cele.

“We know that the decreases were largely attributed to the fact that the country was at the time under Lockdown level 4 and level three. People stayed at home and there were more boots on the ground. Basically the environment for crime to thrive was distorted. We also knew that this  “rosy picture” would not last forever as the country opened up for business again.”

According to his stats, all Contact Crimes decreased by 11.6% during this period, while all sexual offences decreased by 16.8%. Contact-Related Crimes decreased by 3.7% and all Property-Related Crimes decreased 18.7%.


Cele announced that between July and September 2020, 5 107 people were murdered in South Africa. This is 339 less than the number of people killed in the same period last year. This is also the lowest figure for the past four 2nd quarters from 2017/18 to date.

From a sample of 4 290 murder dockets, analysis revealed that 1 992 of the murders occurred in public spaces such as beaches, parks, streets or open fields. Over 900 people were killed in their homes or the homes of those who have ended their lives.

Alarmingly, arguments and misunderstandings remain the main drivers of murder. Robberies, vigilantism and gang conflicts also feature high on the list of the causes of murder.

Sexual assault:

There has also been a drop in the number of sexual offences reported. This means a 16.8% dip in crimes such as rape and sexual assault were recorded. This does not mean that the crimes weren’t committed.

While there was an 18.8% decrease in the number of rape cases, July, August and September 2020 were dangerous months for thousands of women in this country.

Exactly 8 922 cases of rape were reported at this time. A sample of 5 168 rape dockets revealed that 3 578 persons were raped in their homes or at the home of their perpetrators. Majority of those who were raped were women.

Over a thousand persons were raped in public places such as parks, beaches parking areas or open fields. The same analysis also revealed that more people were raped in Kwa-Zulu Natal than any other province.


Cele admonished alcohol and its affect on crime in the country, explaining that figures show the consumption and abuse of alcohol is a causative factor in hundreds of murder cases recorded in the second quarter.

Liquor was also involved in 829 assault GBV cases and 747 rape cases. Exactly 179 attempts of murder were alcohol induced. Over a thousand incidences of murder, attempted murder, rape and assault took place at in or outside liquor outlets such as bars, taverns, shebeens and nightclubs.

“These figures make it impossible to deny the true effects of alcohol abuse,” said Cele.

Fear crimes:

Cele warns that there may be an increase in crime this festive season as criminals try “to make up for the time lost during the ‘crime holiday’ experienced in the first quarter of the financial year.”

He stated that there was an increase in the country’s most feared crimes, which are residential robberies.

While many citizens are still working from home due to the Nationwide Lockdown, incidents of home invasions have increased by 8.5%. On the other hand, cases of business robberies have declined by the same percentage.

However, trio crimes, which is car-jackings, is also showing a decrease of 1.6%.


The scramble to ‘catch up’ by criminals is also reflecting in the increasing of Cash in Transit heist figures.

“It is clear armed gangs targeting cash vans, are becoming more desperate and ruthless as the year comes to a close. These criminals are stopping at nothing to carry out their criminal acts, often doing so in public spaces near innocent bystanders,” said Cele.

“I am pleased that there have been breakthroughs in taking down some of these criminal syndicates as well as recouping some of the stolen money.”

The Directorate for Priority Crime investigation – the Hawks – also continue to make inroads by cornering and taking down these brazen gangs.

“But the fact that this quarter recorded 24 cases more of the CIT’s than the comparable previous quarter period in this crime, it means more can and must be done to infiltrate these gangs and bring CIT robberies to its knees, concluded Cele.

“The provincial and national integrated CIT teams have their work cut out for them. This must include arresting some of their colleagues who are alleged to be involved or assisting these criminal gangs.”

Stock theft

In the three months of reporting, there have been 7 339 cases of Stock theft countrywide. A total of  26 322 sheep were stolen in the last three months. Over 14 thousand cattle were also stolen and found themselves in abattoirs and on to the plates of unsuspecting South Africans.

This crime has also recorded a decrease in all provinces except for the Northern Cape.

“If we are to rid the country of stock theft, we have to tackle the whole value chain from the top right down to which butchery this stolen meat ends up on,” said Cele.

“This crime which I believe is a form of “Economic Sabotage’ needs to be tackled not just by the police but also have the buy in of other departments that can assist in the tracking, tracing, marking and movement of stock.”

SAPS have set up a task team to look into stock theft in the Free State and are confident this will yield results.

Cele concluded by honouring the 252 men and women in blue who have lost their lives to the COVID 19 pandemic. He also passed condolences to all the officers who were killed on and off duty in the last three months.

“As the country goes into the festive season, I am again making a call to all members of the SAPS; all of you must continue to flush out criminality,” he concluded. “Go out there and tighten the grip on crime, especially crime committed against women and children. I am also calling on communities to continue to work together with the police and ensure that people are and feel safe.”

The breakdown of crime statistics:

Crime Category  Figures 
Murder – 6.2%
Sexual Offences – 16.8%
Attempted Murder + 1,8%
Assault to do grievous bodily harm – 12.4%
Common Assault – 5.5%
Common Robbery – 25.3%
Robbery with aggravating circumstances – 13.0%

Sexual Offences

Crime Category Figures
Rape – 18.8%
Sexual Assault – 10.5%
Attempted Sexual Offences – 9.4%
Contact Sexual Offences + 3.2%


Crime Category Figures
Carjacking – 1.6%
Robbery at Residential Premises + 8.5%
Robbery at Non-Residential Premises – 8.5%
Robbery of Cash-In-Transit + 60.0%
Bank Robbery one case
Truck hijacking + 31.7%

Contact-Related Crimes

Crime Categories


Arson – 6.7%
Malicious damage to property – 3.6%

Property-Related Crimes

Crime Categories Figures
Burglary at non-residential premises – 6.0%
Burglary at residential premises – 21.3%
Theft of motor vehicle and motor cycle – 17.2%
Theft out or from motor vehicle – 25.3%
Stock Theft – 6.8%

Picture: screenshot from livestream

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