The quarterly crime stats released by Police Minister Bheki Cele today are extremely disturbing and paint a shocking picture. They show that not enough is being done to combat crime, especially in relation to gender-based violence, Amnesty International South Africa said.
“It is alarming and seriously concerning to see that the total number of sexual offences has increased by 4.7%, with 9,556 rapes between July and September 2021. This is an increase of 7.1% from the previous year’s second quarter’s 8,922 cases. It is unacceptable that these numbers continue to rise,” Amnesty International South Africa Executive Director Shenilla Mohamed said.
“It is important to note that these are only the cases that have been reported to the police, and one could surmise that there are more victims and survivors than the official figures, given the under-reporting of rape in the country. This cannot be tolerated and urgent action is needed to ensure the safety and protection of all in South Africa.
It is also concerning that over 13,000 of the 72,762 cases of assault were cases of domestic violence.” Mohamed said.
Amnesty International South Africa has also raised concern again over the rising number of kidnapping cases.
According to the crime stats, there were 2,000 kidnapping cases reported to the police between July to September 2021.
“The increasing reports of kidnappings, especially those involving children, are disturbing and authorities need to be transparent about all cases. Knowledge is power and people have a right to know what is going on. The authorities must get to the bottom of the kidnappings and bring those involved to justice,” Mohamed said.
“It is clear that South Africa is not a safe place for everyone who lives here. The police have an obligation to protect the rights to life and security. These stats show that they are failing to fulfil this obligation.” said Mohamed.
The South African Police Service (SAPS) announced its second quarter crime statistics on 19 November 2021, outlining crime numbers from 1 July 2021 to the end of September 2021.
Last year, President Cyril Ramaphosa declared the scourge of gender-based violence a second pandemic.
In February this year he launched the Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) Private Sector Response Fund. In August, the president announced that R141 million had been pledged for the first phase of the GBVF Response Fund.
Ramaphosa is still to sign into law the GBV bills passed by parliament in September.
The criminal justice system is failing victims of gender-based violence.
As the leader of the SAPS, Minister Bheki Cele has the opportunity to change this by prioritising:
Capacity-building: By providing appropriate, mandatory, initial, and continuous training for all relevant professionals, including police and investigating officers, detectives, and other law enforcement officials who work with victims and survivors of gender-based violence. The training should include legal obligations (including the rights of non-nationals, explaining the rights to the victim, giving them the option to speak with a female officer, and taking them to a private room to give their statement); prevention and detection of cases; gender equality; rape myths; and harmful cultural and societal attitudes, beliefs and stereotypes;
Accountability: Setting performance targets that include ensuring all investigations are completed in an efficient, effective, comprehensive and sensitive manner.
Resource allocation: Officers and stations must have appropriate and adequate resources to investigate cases, including timely access to vehicles, appropriate testing kits and technology, victim-friendly rooms.
Efficiency: The quality and timeliness of effective, efficient and sensitive investigations must be improved, as well as the supervision of investigating officers.
Amnesty International South Africa is calling on the SAPS to CARE.
For more information or to request an interview, please contact:
Genevieve Quintal, Media and Communications Officer, Amnesty International South Africa: +27 (0)64 890 9224; email@example.com
Amnesty International South Africa office, 97 Oxford Road, Saxonwold, Johannesburg, 2196