Minister Cele prioritises crimes against women, illicit trade

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Police Minister Bheki Cele says while any type of crime remains a priority, police will look at strengthening their hand against criminals who target vulnerable groups, including women and children.

The Minister said this when he tabled his Budget Vote speech in Parliament on Tuesday. 

There are increasing concerns from many sectors of society, especially on social media, in relation to girls being abducted and going missing, while many women lose their lives at the hands of their intimate partners. 

“This implies that crimes against women and children and vulnerable groups such as the elderly, people with disabilities, people with albinism and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people will be treated as priority crimes. 

“The scourge of violence against these groups cannot and will not be tolerated and civil society and communities must stand as one together with the police to root out these crimes,” Minister Cele said. 

The Minister has directed the police to address the incidents of drug and substance abuse, which has also been identified as a driver of crimes against women and children and vulnerable groups. 

With 2018/19 being the Year of Women, Children and Vulnerable Groups as victims of crime, Minister Cele said the work of the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) Investigation Service becomes extraordinarily important. 

There are currently 183 FCS units, which creates a specialist investigative environment to deal with gender-based violent crimes including sexual offences, with a focus on serial rape-related cases, child pornography and crimes facilitated by electronic media. 

“Furthermore, the police have established 1 047 dedicated victim friendly facilities at police stations countrywide to accommodate and assist victims.

The positive impact that the establishment of these dedicated units have is evident in the recent conviction of Mr Mantswe, who killed Karabo Mokwena. 

“The accused was sentenced to 32 years imprisonment by the South Gauteng High Court. 

“During the financial year 2017/18, 692 life sentences were meted, 30 521 years were handed [as part of sentence], and 3 234 of dockets were registered. 

“All these cases relate to the violent crimes committed against women and children in our Republic. We therefore make a clarion call to the criminal justice system to deal decisively against the perpetrators of gender-based crimes, irrespective of their social, political and economic status.” 

Police to tackle illicit economy crimes 

Police will intensify their efforts to tackle the illicit economy, which Minister Cele said continues to erode government’s tax revenue. 

“The illicit economy is draining valuable resources away from the State and its citizens. 

“The combating of crimes in this space will be prioritised during 2018/19, including illicit mining and the various methods of grand scale tax evasion, such as the trade in illegal cigarettes,” he said. 

Cyber crime will also be tackled as it affects every single person in South Africa, irrespective of their economic or social status. 

Minister Cele said more will be done to improve the prevention of cyber crime, specifically the police’s ability to investigate these crimes once reported. 

Concern over spike in cash-in-transit heists 

The Minister said the recent spike in banking and cash-in-transit-related crimes is a cause for concern. 

He said this category of crime, like many others, impacts directly on the economy of the country. 

He sent a stern warning to perpetrators, saying they will not be allowed to act at will, plundering cash resources which fuel the economy. 

The Minister expressed concern on the recent increase in violent public protest, which puts the lives of citizens in danger and threatens the stability of communities. 

“The police are frequently required to react to violent public protest as a result of factors beyond their control. 

“This, no doubt, requires a greater commitment to service delivery but also requires the police to act with professional constraint,” he said. –