'Social collaboration needed to bring down number of murders in SA'

The latest crime stats shows that a murder is committed every 30 minutes in South Africa.

Police Minister, Nkosinathi Nhleko, reports the findings of the 2014/2015 crime stats at Parliament. Picture: Anthony Molyneaux/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko says a collaborative social effort is needed to drive down the country's murder numbers which has seen sharp increases in Gauteng, followed closely by the Western Cape.

Nationally, the 2014/2015 financial year has seen a 4.6 percent increase in the number of murders.

This amounts to 49 people killed a day.

The figures show 17,805 people were murdered which translates into a murder every 30 minutes in South Africa.

This was revealed yesterday when the Police Minister and National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega revealed the latest crime stats.

Phiyega said eight out of the top 10 police stations that contributed to the overall number of murders are in the Western Cape.

"The highest recorded was Nyanga, at 300."

Other contact crimes including attempted murder, aggravated robbery and assault also increased, while there's been a sharp spike in truck hijackings, up by nearly 30 percent.

DRUGS

Phiyega said South Africa has graduated into a manufacturing site and transit point for the drug trade.

"We closed 37,900 unlicensed illegal liquor premises and I want to underscore that we confiscated 1.5 billion litres of liquor."

A total of 57 clandestine drug laboratories were dismantled, of which 31 were hydroponic laboratories.

Police confiscated tons of cannabis, mandrax, tik, cocaine and heroin during the period under review.

Nhleko said police alone can't drive down the country's murder rate.

"You require a social effort and the social approach to actually deal with that."

The number of murders rose by 10.4 percent and 9.7 percent in Gauteng and the Western Cape respectively over the past year.

Carjacking rose by 14 percent and house robberies by five percent.

While police management have tried explain away the increasing crime levels as a symptom of worsening social problems, crime analysts have questioned the leadership and their ability to implement effective strategies.

The University of Cape Town's Mark Shaw says the crime statistics are evidence of instability in the police, particularly in the Intelligence Units.

"Things perhaps are not as effective as they have been in the past. They're not solving as many of these syndicates and investigations as we should and that's reflected in this crime statistics in a fairly direct way."

The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) Gareth Newham say police face a leadership crisis.

"Until we see the National Development Plan's recommendations about improving the national leadership of police, we probably won't see the kind of improvement in our crime intelligence, detectives and the ability to respond effectively to crimes."

Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru)'s Richard Mamabolou has however supported police leadership and called on the community to do more to help combat crime.

POLICE APPEAL FOR GREATER SUPPORT

While the police are being criticised for not implementing a successful plan to combat crime, the officers on the ground have appealed to the people they're expected to protect, for greater support.

Newham says it appears the police just don't have a plan to tackle violent crimes.

"The increases in robberies suggest that police do not have an effective strategy to tackle the armed gangs that commit these robberies."

Mamabolo says communities need to play a greater role in crime combatting.

"We cannot expect management to be advised by experts who have book theory, but don't have practical theory and expect to get positive results from that."

The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) has welcomed the stats, which show a decrease in crimes affecting the sector, attributing the success to better cooperation with the police.