Crime Stats 2018 – 83% of South Africa’s gang related murder occurs in the Western Cape

Statement by Dan Plato, Western Cape Minister of Community Safety

Date: 11September 2018

The residents in the Western Cape continue to be exposed to unacceptably high levels of crime, specifically crimes relating to interpersonal violence which I believe to be fuelled by the scourge of gangsterism, drugs and gun violence.

This is evident from the release of the latest National Annual Crime Statistics for 2017/18, which shows that 83% of all gang-related murders in South Africa took place in the Western Cape.

It further shows that every day, on average throughout 2017/18, the Western Cape has seen:
–       10 reported counts of murders a day;
–       10 reported counts attempted murders a day;
–       19 reported counts of sexual offences;
–       116 reported counts of burglary at residential premises; 
–       9 reported counts of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition; and 
–       320 reported counts of drug-related crime.

The people of the Western Cape, especially the communities hardest hit by violent crimes such as murder and attempted murder, cannot be appeased by yet another Police Minister acknowledging that they are dropping the ball on crime.

It is time for the necessary action to change the lives of those confronted with crime on a daily basis. Police resources need to be pumped into the Western Cape by national government. This should include the support of SAPS Base Camps and the SANDF, in gang hotspots. The under-resourcing of police stations also need urgent attention. 

Police Reservist numbers urgently need to be lifted, and Specialised Units for Gangs, Guns and Drugs rolled out.

The drug and gangsterism floodgates opened in the province with the disbandment of these units and the police’s efficiency has been grossly compromised when the thousands of police reservists were let go. The Western Cape Government has been vocal about the impact of these policy shifts through our oversight mandate on policing in the province.

The province is seeing 10-year highs being recorded in murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, robbery at residential premises, counts of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition and an all-time high in drug-related crime.

With 16 483 less counts of crime reported to the police in 2017/18 (345211) as compared to 2016/17 (361694) I am quite concerned about the trust relationship needed between communities and the police in our united efforts against crime. I remain unconvinced that the drop in reported crimes such as assault, sexual offences, malicious damage to property, or property related crimes are a true reflection of the numbers of crime occurring in our communities. 

Key crime statistics observations:
–       83% (808) of all gang-related murders in South Africa (973) are recorded in the Western Cape.
–       45% of murders in the Western Cape occur in the 26 gang related stations.
–       56.48% of attempted murders in the WC are in the 26 gang affected stations.
–       57% of firearm related offences in the WC are in the gang stations.
–       44.3% of drug related offences are in the gang stations.
–       Murder in Philippi East precinct has increased by 180% over the five-year period from 2013/14 to 17/18, and by 36,7% in the last financial year.

The Western Cape has 
–       36.2% of all drug related crime in the country, 117 157 (WC) of 323 547 (RSA).
–       9 out of 30 top stations for highest counts of Contact Crime (Murder, Rape, Attempted Murder, Assault GBH, Common Assault, Common Robbery, Robbery Aggravating, sexual Assault), including – Nyanga, Mitchells Plain, Khayelitsha, Delft, Kraaifontein, Mfuleni, Cape Town Central, Harare, Worcester;
–       16 out of 30 top stations for highest counts of Contact-Related Crime (arson and malicious damage to property), including: Mitchells Plain, Nyanga, Delft, Worcester, Bishop Lavis, Elsies River, Kraaifontein, Mfuleni, Kleinvlei, Paarl East, Khayelitsha, Athlone, Atlantis, Manenberg and Harare.
–       Biggest increase in cases of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition at 493, representing an increase of 16.8% from 2929 (2016/17) to 3422 (2017/18).
–       Biggest increase in cases of drug-related crime at 9778, which represents an increase of 9.1% from 107379 (2016/17) to 117157 (2017/18).

Key observations on Murder:
–       Murder increased by 12.6% (418) from 3311 to 3 729 in the Western Cape, almost double the national increase of 6.9%.
–       At 3 729 the Western Cape has the fourth highest murder count, behind KwaZulu Natal (4382), Gauteng (4233) and the Eastern Cape (3815), however
–       The Western Cape has the highest case difference at an additional 418 murders occurring in 2017/18.
–       45% of murders in the Western Cape occur in the 26 gang related stations.
–       279 children murdered in the Western Cape, 28.3% of 985 in South Africa.
–       370 women murdered in the Western Cape, 12.6% of 2930 in South Africa.
–       10 Western Cape Stations under top 30 stations with the highest counts of murder recorded inclue:
o       Nyanga (1) – 2017/18 – 308 cases recorded, 27 more than 2016/17, representing a 9.6% increase;
o       Philippi East (3) – 2017/18 – 205 cases recorded, 55 more than 2016/17, representing a 36.7% increase;
o       Delft (5) – 2017/18 – 195 cases recorded, 12 more than 2016/17, representing a 6.6% increase;
o       Khayelitsha (6) – 2017/18 – 192 cases recorded, 13 more than 2016/17, representing 7.3% increase;
o       Kraaifontein (7) – 2017/18 – 186 cases recorded, 44 more than 2016/17, representing a 31% increase.
o       Gugulethu (8) – 2017/18 – 182 cases recorded, 46 more than 2016/17, representing 33.8% increase.
o       Mfuleni (10) – 2017/18 – 157 cases recorded, 32 more than last year, representing 25.6% increase.
o       Harare (11) – 2017/18 – 142 cases recorded, 32 less than last year, representing a decrease of 18.4%.
o       Mitchells Plain (12) – 2017/18 – 140 cases recorded, 37 more than last year, representing a 35,9% increase.
o       Bishop Lavis (21) – 2017/18 – 98 cases recorded, 1 more than last year, representing a 1% increase.

Key observations on Attempted Murder:
–       The Western Cape recorded a 9.2% (311) increase in Attempted Murder from 3387 in 2016/17 to 3698 in 2017/18, while in South Africa only a 0.2% increase was recorded.
–       The province has the third highest count for attempted murder at 3698, behind KwaZulu Natal (4099) and Gauteng (4462), however, we recorded the highest actual number of case differences in the country at 311.
–       56.48% of attempted murders in the WC are in the 26 gang affected stations
–       Western Cape has 12 stations in the top 30 stations with the highest counts of attempted murder recorded. Of these stations, eight (8) also appear on the top 30 murder stations in the country:
o       Mitchells Plain (1) – 246 cases recorded, a 70.8% increase from 2016/17.
o       Delft (5) – 192 cases recorded,
o       Khayelitsha (6) – 181 cases recorded, 75 less than 2016/17 – a 29.3% reduction;
o       Nyanga (7) – 172 cases recorded;
o       Bishop Lavis (8) – 156 cases recorded;
o       Mfuleni (15) – 123 cases recorded;
o       Philippi East (18) – 118 cases recorded;
o       Kraaifontein (25) – 103 cases recorded. 

Although carjacking decreased in the province by 0.9% (19 cases) from 2201 to 2182, Nyanga remains the stations with the highest count of cases recorded at 276, for the third year consecutively. 

Robberies compared to burglaries
–       Robbery at residential premises are at a 10-year high at 2787 cases recorded in 2017/18 – an increase of 8.9 while nationally decrease by 0.4%.
–       Robbery at non-residential premises increased by 7.6% from 1889 to 2033. Nationally decreased by 3.1%.
–       Burglary at residential premises are at a nine-year low at 11379, a decrease of 9.2% compared to a national decrease of only 5.8%.
–       Burglary at non-residential premises are at a ten-year low at 42 662 cases reported, a 7.3% which is similar to the 7.5% decrease observed nationally.

The possibility of under reporting of crime needs further unpacking as we cannot allow a breakdown in the relationship between police and communities because of poor policing service delivery based on insufficient manpower and resources.

We know that the national average of police per population is one officer for every 369 residents. In the Western Cape there is one officer for every 509 residents while in the City of Cape Town, only one officer for every 560 residents.

The SAPS has identified 26 gang stations in the province, of which 23 are found in the City of Cape Town Metro, and most of which are geographically concentrated around the area known as the Cape Flats. 

These are the communities that the National Police Ministers has not only neglected but seemingly forgotten about when considering the historical under resourcing police resources for the Western Cape to the areas where they are critically needed.

Violent crime seems to be the most prevalent in areas where police are most under-resourced and communities experiencing poor police to population safety service delivery. The average police to population ratio for the stations with the highest counts of murder and attempted murder in the province are far beyond the national average and include: 
–       Nyanga – 1 per 628;
–       Philippi East – 1 per 344;
–       Delft – 1 per 642;
–       Khayelitsha – 1 per 521;
–       Kraaifontein – 1 per 609;
–       Gugulethu – 1 per 590;
–       Mfuleni – 1 per 529;
–       Harare – 1 per 745;
–       Mitchells Plain – 1 per 472;
–       Bishop Lavis – 1 per 442.

We have seen the difference additional resources can make in communities with the deployment of personnel from across the country under Operation Thunder in the Western Cape. 

It has meant the difference between life and death for many residents. It has given people a sense of safety they have never experienced before and have allowed them to live more dignified lives. This deployment cannot be temporary. 

I reiterate my call for the timeous release of crime statistics to allow for other spheres of government to align its resources to the area’s most in need.

My department will continue to unpack the crime statistics and present our inputs and recommendations to improve the safety of the residents in the Western Cape.

Media enquiries:
Ewald Botha, Spokesperson for Minister Plato – 079 694 1113

Issued by Western Cape Community Safety, 11 September 2018


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