20 February 2012
Serious crime levels have been on the decline in South Africa for the last three years, says Justice Minister Jeff Radebe, adding that the police’s family violence, child protection and sexual offences units are being reintroduced to tackle crimes affecting vulnerable groups.
Addressing the media in Cape Town on Sunday, Radebe said that serious crime levels had declined by five percent overall in the last three years – murder by 6.5%, attempted murder by 12.2%, and sexual offences by 4.4%.
“These decreases were achieved through various interventions, including proper planning, police visibility and coordination with other security agencies,” Radebe said.
“Whilst we note a decrease in sexual offences, we remain seriously concerned about the increase in rape cases.”
In an effort to tackle the issue, he said they had begun to reintroduce the South African Police Service Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences units to focus on crimes among vulnerable groups.
“We have also attended to improving infrastructure such as Victim Friendly Rooms at police stations, Thuthuzela Care Centres, Domestic Violence Shelters and Places of Safety throughout the country.
“All these are done in an effort to ensure the centrality of the victim, particularly a vulnerable victim.”
Radebe highlighted that they noted a recent increase in ATM bombings and these could be attributed to the “heat that the criminals are feelings in bank robberies as well as cash-in-transit-heists”.
“Intensive detective and intelligence work, supported by various agencies, is currently under way to hunt, arrest and prosecute those responsible for the crimes,” he said.
In the fight against organised crime, he said that the Directorate of Priority Investigations (the Hawks) had since arrested the country’s 50 most wanted criminals. He said that unit had also recently arrested over 20 rhino poachers.
Radebe said that while they were encouraged by the declining crime trends, “we remain concerned about the levels of crime, particularly crimes against women, children and the elderly.”
He reiterated that they would “spare neither strength nor effort” in ensuring that everyone in the country was safe – and felt safe.