Where are the crime stats Mr Minister? Bheki Cele called out over failure to release latest stats

Police Minister Bheki Cele has been called out over his failure to share the latest crime stats. File picture: Bongani Shilulbane / Independent Newspapers

Police Minister Bheki Cele has been called out over his failure to share the latest crime stats. File picture: Bongani Shilulbane / Independent Newspapers

Published May 21, 2024


With just days to go before the country takes to the polls in the provincial and national elections, Police Minister Bheki Cele, has been accused of ‘hiding’ the latest crime statistics.

According to the Democratic Alliance (DA), it is an attempt to avoid embarrassment before the election on May 29, and an unacceptable politicisation of statistics which are in the public interest.

According to the Pre-release Crime Stats Release calendar issued by the South African Police Service (SAPS) last year, Cele is supposed to issue the Quarter 4 crime stats report, for the period January 1 to March 31, 2024, by May 17.

The DA’s Andrew Whitfield said every other scheduled release date has been adhered to until now.

"The credibility of the crime statistics depends in large part on their timely release as scheduled," he said.

Whitfield added that there were factors that relied on the timeous release of the stats.

“The fact that they have not been released begs the question; 'What are you hiding Minister Cele?' Over the last three quarters South Africans have seen violent crime increase as the state fails to protect our citizens,” Whitfield said.

He said murders increased by 11.5% between the first and second quarter (from 6,228 to 6,945), and another 11% into the third, to 7,710 murders in the space of only three months while attempted murders climbed by 15.8% between the first two quarters and then again by 16.1% between the second and third.

Almost 3,000 more people were raped between October and December 2023 than between April and June 2023, Whitfield said.

He said in the first quarter of this year, 37,491 people were violently assaulted. By the time the third quarter came around, this number increased to 53,513.

“More that 4,000 people were kidnapped between October and December of last year, adding to the other 3,854 kidnappings in the first quarter.”

There is no doubt that the fourth quarter crime statistics are following this upward trend which is why the Minister is running scared. South Africans have a right to know whether interventions by SAPS are yielding positive results or not so that they can make informed decisions about their personal safety.

“SAPS must not allow the Minister to interfere in the scheduled release of the crime statistics, the National Police Commissioner must maintain separation between party and state,” Whitfield said.

For now, the DA has written to the National SAPS Commissioner demanding that the release of the crime stats.

Action Society's Juanita du Preez believes the delay in the release of the crime stats underlines a bigger delay patter.

IOL reached out to the SAPS Ministry spokesperson for comment. No comment was received by IOL at the time of publishing.

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