Date: Feb 18, 2022 Type: , Country:

South Africa: Quarterly crime statistics reveal a shocking concern for the right to life

The quarterly crime statistics released by Police Minister Bheki Cele reveal a shocking concern for the right to life, including failure to protect people, Amnesty International South Africa said today. The crime stats released today show that there was an increase of 8.9% increase in murder between October and December 2021.

“It is disturbing that 6,859 people were murdered in the country in a space of just three months. This is 562 more people compared to the previous period. It is clear that people are not safe anywhere in South Africa. Urgent action is needed from the government and the South African Police Service,” said Amnesty International South Africa’s Executive Director Shenilla Mohamed. 

The fact that the top four causative factors of these deaths include vigilantism, revenge or retaliation shows that many people have no trust in the police resulting in some wrongfully taking the law into their hands. It’s the situation we saw during the July unrest,” said Shenilla Mohamed. 

Gender-based violence 

Amnesty International is also concerned that the government continues to fail the country’s women. More than 900 of those murdered were women, representing a 4.2% increase in women murdered compared to the previous period. 

While we do note that a 9% decrease has been recorded for sexual offences, we are deeply worried that 11,315 people were raped between October and December 2021, and these were only cases of rape that were reported to the police. We know that South Africa faces a problem of underreporting of such crimes, with research showing that attitudes and behaviours by police officials are large contributing factors to individuals choosing not to report, or withdrawing a case.

“The fact that over 5,012 of the rape incidents took place at the home of the victim or the home of the perpetrator, indicates that we still have a long way to go as a country to deal with this issue. The government must comply with both its own constitutional and international human rights obligations to do more to protect women in this country. The fact that we still have a DNA backlog of 58,000 indicates that the government is failing thousands of women who are seeking justice. Government must ensure that the backlog is cleared as soon as possible and ensure that GBV cases are investigated properly,” said Shenilla Mohamed. 

Kidnappings 

Amnesty International South Africa has also noted that there has been a disturbing increase in the number of kidnappings, with 2,605 kidnapping cases opened with the police.

“This is 686 more cases of kidnapping compared to the previous reporting period. We reiterate our call for authorities to be transparent about all these cases,” Shenilla Mohamed said.

Background

The South African Police Service announced its third quarter crime statistics on 18 February 2022, outlining crime numbers from 1 October 2021 to the end of December 2021.

For more information or to request an interview please call Amnesty International South Africa’s Campaigner Sibusiso Khasa on +27 73 449-6871 or email sibusiso.khasa@amnesty.org.za