Cooperation needed to defeat high murder rate

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The increase in the murder rate in South Africa is unacceptable and society must find ways to deal with it head-on, Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Police said on Tuesday.

“When communities do not feel safe and live in fear, the country’s economic development and the people’s well-being are affected,” Chairperson Francois Beukman said in response to crime statistics released last week by Police Minister Fikile Mbalula.

South Africa has seen a rise in violent crimes in the 2016/2017 financial year, recording 19 016 murders during the year under review.

Beukman said it was upon the South African government, the community and individuals to foster a cooperative effort to defeat this scourge.

“The solutions to the high murder rate will not be found in our rules of criminal procedure or laws regulating immigration. The recipe to addressing the problem lies in a partnership among all social structures to build a better life for ourselves and cooperation with our neighbours.”

Alcohol and drug abuse has been highlighted to be an important generator of murder cases. In 34% of the cases, the offender used alcohol and 3.9% were users of drugs.

The proliferation of dangerous weapons such as illegal firearms, as well as knives is a matter of concern that must be stymied, expressed Beukman.     

“The fight against crime and the high murder rate require a re-focus by the SAPS on crime prevention, detection and crime intelligence that will contribute to the reduction of the murder rate.”

The committee proposed that a nine-point action plan should be implemented to deal with the current situation. It includes:

  • Professionalise the police and strengthen the national leadership of the SAPS – appoint a new permanent National Commissioner as soon as possible.
  • Fill the positions of the Head of Crime Intelligence and Deputy National Commissioner: Detective services to give direction to the units responsible for detecting and investigating serious and violent crime, that is, murder.
  • The turnaround of the current performance of the detective services and crime intelligence will be key in bringing the policeable crimes down.   
  • The new specialising unit of the DPCI focusing on illegal firearms should make a major headway in dealing with the illegal pool of fire-arms that are instrumental in murders and other violent crime.  
  • Cluster and station commanders of the SAPS should from a tactical perspective deploy visible policing and crime intelligence assets in such a way that house robberies, car-jacking incidents and business robberies are dealt with in pro-active manner.
  • More projects and networks operations from Crime Intelligence should be launched in priority areas i.e. informal settlements, rural settings and highly dense population areas.
  • Technology is key to respond to emerging crime patterns and identify syndicates and gangs who are the main perpetrators of violent and gun crime in the society.
  • Deal with the corrupt SAPS members at all levels and introduce effective vetting procedures in all high-risk police stations and units as a matter of priority.
  • Table the Firearms Amendment Act as soon as possible and revamp the Firearms Registry Management System to ensure better administrative and management control over firearms.



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