portrait of police commissioner Bheki Cele

Murder is on the increase in South Africa. According to the latest crime statistics which were released by the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele on the 30th of May this year a total of 6 289 people were murdered between January and March of this year alone.  This is an increase of 206 victims from the same period a year ago in 2022.

Perhaps even more shocking is that this year saw 1 393 more murders committed than during the same period in 2019. The lowest recorded murders for the three months between January and March was in 2020 with 4 589 cases reported (just before the start of the first 21-day national lock-down due to the Coronavirus).

Sexual offenses, according to the statistics, dropped by 4,3% with 13 205 cases reported in comparison with 13 799 reported for the first three months of 2022.

The latest crime stats for South Africa for the period between January and March 2023. Source: SAPS

Attempted murder climbed by 8,3% with 6 192 cases reported in comparison to 5 717 for the previous year. Assault with intend to cause grievous bodily harm rose by 0,2% from 42 992 in 2022, to a staggering 43 090 for the first three months this year.

Common Assault is up 7,6% from 45 746 to 49 226 cases. Common Robbery also increased with 8,9% from 10 787 cases reported to 11 744 this year.

Rape cases dropped by 2,8% from the previous year but is still shockingly high at 10 512 reported instances for just the first three months of 2023. That equates to 116 rapes per day in South Africa. And these are only the ones that were reported.

However, in his address to the media, Minister Cele said that the decision by the Police ministry and management to upscale visible policing was proving to be effective.

“In February, as the Police ministry and Police management we made a commitment to decisively deal with crime, following growing calls by communities for the SAPS to upscale their response to criminals,” he stated. “More boots on the ground are pushing back on criminality, through provincial intelligence led operations to take down individuals or criminal syndicates hell-bent on terrorizing communities.”

Despite the announcement by the minister, total contact crimes against a victim (rape, murder, sexual offenses, robbery) rose by 4,0% from last year.

There have also been 64 cash in transit heists in just the three months from January this year.