The crime statistics released yesterday were a fitting bookend to a fairly grim week for South Africa.
At a time when we really need hope, they are almost uniformly dismal: murder is up (1.4%). The murder rate is the highest it’s been in 10 years. A total of 21325 people were murdered between April 1 last year and the end of March this year.
There were 42289 reported rape cases over the same period– an appalling statistic given the likelihood that only a fraction of sexual violence cases is ever reported.
The statistics are critically important when it comes to recalibrating the narrative in this country, because they give us a much-needed perspective: less than 6% of murders can be directly attributed to alcohol, while bullying at school results in more assaults than robberies, prison fights, rape attacks and taxi violence.
Farm murders, sold across the world by AfriForum as genocide against whites, amounted to just 49 – the deadliest provinces were the Eastern Cape and the Free State with 12 apiece.
The statistics don’t tell us about the lockdown. In the last 127 days, gender-based violence has anecdotally spiralled out of control and the sale of alcohol has been banned for weeks because of its alleged influence on our anti-social behaviour.
In the face of this, Minister of Police Bheki Cele has prided himself on the vast number of arrests and prosecutions of individuals breaking the lockdown regulations – especially when it comes to cigarettes.
In fact, his men and women in blue have been so hard at work enforcing compliance to combat the spread of Covid-19 (which by yesterday had claimed the lives of 7812), that not a single breakthrough has been made in the 2014 Senzo Meyiwa murder, last year’s Marc Batchelor assassination, or the Melville shooting on January1.
Next year’s statistics should be an absolute riot – tragically.
The Saturday Star