SA is at war with itself – MPs react to latest crime stats

South Africa recorded over 21,000 murders for the 2018/2019 year, an increase of 686 murders from the previous year.

Police Minister Bheki Cele and National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole during a visit to Philippi East, Cape Town on 8 July 2019. Picture: @SAPoliceService/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - Members of Parliament have reacted to the latest crime statistics saying South Africa is a country at war with itself.

On Thursday, Minister Bheki Cele and top police management told Parliament's police committee that most contact crimes like murder, rape, common assault and robbery were up from the previous financial year.

South Africa recorded over 21,000 murders for the 2018/2019 year, an increase of 686 murders from the previous year.

The latest crime stats show how all nine provinces have recorded increases in contact crime, with the greatest volumes recorded in KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape and the Eastern Cape.

This, according to the members of the police committee, needs to be urgently addressed.

Economic Freedom Fighters MP Washington Mafanya said: “Over a period of 10 years, we’ve had almost 200,000 murders and it’s a sign that it’s a country at war with itself.”

Freedom Front Plus MP Pieter Groenewald was particularly alarmed at the increase in contact crimes like murder, which is up 3.4% to 21,022 murders.

“It is quite clear that we have a country, a violent country, which we’ll have to take drastic steps.”

Meanwhile, the South African Police Union (Sapu) is urging government to do more to prevent the scourge of attacks on police officers.

The statistics revealed that 70 police officers were murdered in the country and nine of them were in the Western Cape.

According to the statistics, there were 39 attempted murder cases on police officers in the Western Cape alone and 228 assault cases, which is the highest in the country.

Just on Wednesday, Cele visited the families of two Mfuleni based police officers who were shot, one killed and another wounded, in the line of duty over the weekend.

Sapu's Mpho Kwinika said police officers were not being looked after.

He added that national police commissioner Khehla Sitole needed to step up.

“The police department has got operational people in the name of General Khehla Sitole. He’s the one who’s supposed to guarantee protection, together with the society, but he’s not coming up. I think government needs to start putting pressure of him to start to perform.”