The release of the South Africa Police Service (SAPS), DNA Board and Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) Annual Reports for 2022 paints a grim picture of South Africa’s crime status and police minister, Bheki Cele’s inability to curb crime in the country.
South African’s live in fear on a daily basis and justifiably so with the report revealing that the police service lost 5946 SAPS members, including 972 detective officials over the last year. The loss in manpower is very evident with the increases of crime compared with the 2020/21 annual report:
- 5300 more murders (26.6%)
- 6626 more sexual offences (14.2%)
- 5558 more rapes (15.2%)
- 4152 carjackings (24.7%)
- 342 more cash in transit heists (550%)
- 8570 more contact crimes reported at the top 30 police stations (11.1%)
The increase of crime across the board is yet another indication that Bheki Cele is not fit to continue serving as the Minister of Police. If President Ramaphosa still cares about the safety of South Africans, the logical thing to do is to fire him.
While crime increased, Cele made sure to increase his VIP cadre protection and security services budget from R3.26 billion in 2021 to R3.48 billion. It would seem the minister is completely detached from the crime plaque facing SA.
Despite the Police Minister’s promise of clearing the backlog on DNA samples, 154 204 samples still remained at year end, with only around 2% of all samples collected being processed within 30 days from receipt, delaying and thus denying justice to these victims.
Another revelation is that 5295 cases are being investigated by IPID for police misconduct which included death by police hand, rape and assaults. There are currently 13 262 active civil claims against the police that amount to potentially R67.6 billion of compensation. SAPS members need to be capacitated and stringent vetting processes should be put in place to curb misconduct.
These Annual Reports are the nail in the coffin for Minister Bheki Cele and are the clearest indication yet that centralisation of police does not work The DA has therefore been calling for policing powers to be devolved to provinces, at the very least, so that police services can plan their crime fighting policies according to their specific needs and priorities, as is set out in Section 206 of the constitution.
The DA-run Western Cape Government in its efforts to reduce crime introduced Law Enforcement Advancement Plan (LEAP) officers to high crime areas, these officers continue to make a notable difference in addressing crime and preventing violence.