By Lethu Nxumalo
KZN townships have recorded their highest number of rape incidents between October and December while the country was under level 1 and adjusted Level 3 lockdown.
Inanda and uMlazi have also shown an increase in cases of attempted murder and the latter has been placed first in the list of thirty national police stations due to the number of attempted murder offences committed.
Delivering the 2020/21 third quarter crime statistics on Friday, Police Minister Bheki Cele said the Covid-19 pandemic had impacted on policing. Over 27 000 members had been infected and 570 had lost their battle to the pandemic. He said there had been over 25 000 recoveries and those members were back at work serving their communities.
“The statistics expose some of the gaps that exist in policing certain crime categories. They also lay bare, some of the policing shortcomings experienced in certain provinces. The National Crime Statistics from October to December 2020 do not paint a good picture, and hence force us as the SAPS to dig deep and put the shoulder to the wheel,” said Cele.
During the third quarter, contact crimes increase in the province. Murder cases recorded were 1 437, a 10,5% increase compared to 2019/2020 with 1 301. Attempted murder stood at 1 259 with a 13,1% increase while robbery with aggravating circumstances increased by 2,4 % recording 5 884 cases.
70 cases of attempted murder were reported at Inanda police station while uMlazi had 68. The police stations had recorded 50 and 32 cases respectively in the 2019/2020 third quarter.
Although Cele red flagged Inanda and uMlazi townships for high rape cases, KZN as whole showed a slight decline in sexual offences. In the third quarter 2 661 cases were reported compared to 2 778 in 2019/2020. Police said only 2 169 rape cases were opened, 368 of sexual assault, 59 of attempted sexual offences and 47 were contact sexual offences.
Mary De Haas, KZN violence monitor and analyst disputed the sexual offences decline saying it was well known that most offences were unreported for various reasons. She said often local police do not give as much sympathy as they should.
De Haas said policing had not been effective for decades and had gradually gotten worse.
However, there had been an improvement in good investigators being placed into jobs.
“But these are few and far between, what we want is a lot more of this,” she said. “The other problem is the interference of the minister. This is a common problem in government, even with the MECs, doing things they should be making sure people they employ do.”
She said she was concerned about the serious crimes increase as one would expect opportunistic crimes to be escalating due to joblessness and hunger.
“We have a long way to go with policing but we have also got to do something about our society. The tragedy is that the lockdown has fuelled organised crime. The country is in a group of organised crime and it is not being addressed and that feeds into other crimes.” IOL