Crime Stats: SA’s Continued Slide Towards Gangster State Highlights Urgent Need for Policy Reform

ActionSA believes South Africa’s continued deteriorating crime statistics highlight how the country is further transforming into a gangster state, and the need for urgent policy and leadership reform to turn the situation around.

The crime statistics released by Police Minister Bheki Cele paints a grim picture of how the current approach by police has simply been unable to turn around the criminal situation in the country and how South African communities have been left to their own defences.

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s refusal to recognise how abysmal Cele’s reign has been is further evidence that he is incapable of making the right decisions to fix SA. The truth is, President Rampahosa should have fired the Police Minister years ago and definitely should do so today.

Urgent policy reform and attention are therefore needed to intervene at the South African Police Service (SAPS), partnering with civil society, in order to restore the rule of law and bring safety to communities which have been let down. Urgent attention must also be given to the socio-economic drivers of crime.

The crime statistics indicate that despite Minister’s Cele populist rhetoric, violent crimes have increased by 4%, murders increased by 8.4% and assaults with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm increased by 0.7%. Cele has now been minister of police for 5 years.

The only decrease reported was in sexual offences: taking into account the inability of SAPS to provide a safe environment for victims of sexual abuse, this decrease only proves that fewer sexual offences were reported, not that the number of sexual offences decreased. It is common cause that GBV remains one of our largest social challenges.

ActionSA believes that South Africa requires a comprehensive overhaul of its police service to restore trust in it, fight crime and restore safety to communities.

That is why ActionSA embarked on a policy consultative process where we ask ordinary South Africans, community activists, experts and academics what is needed to restore safety and the rule of law in our country. These submissions will be compiled into a policy offering to be adopted at our inaugural policy conference from 12 to 14 September.

ActionSA believes South Africa’s criminal situation can be turned around but that it will require political willpower, strong leadership and providing a credible alternative to the current failed system.