It is clear from the SAPS crime stats for 2016/17 released today that the Eastern Cape is caught in the grips of a vicious crime wave that is striking fear into the hearts and minds of the people of this province.
This is a province with the highest murder rate in the country of 55.9 per 100 000 as well as the highest rape rate of 105.3 per 100 000.
If you live in the Eastern Cape, the expression “every person’s home is their castle” has now become “every person’s home must be a fortress”. This is particularly so when one sees that robbery at residential premises is up by 5.7%, burglary at residential premises is up 2.0%, theft out of motor vehicles up 8.6%, stock theft up 3.7% and aggravated robbery is up by 7.1%.
People simply do not feel safe in their homes. My biggest fear is that there will be a rise in vigilantism due to poor police performance.
We had the highest increases of all the provinces in arson at 10.2%, malicious damage to property at 2.1%, theft out of motors vehicles the highest at 8.6% and contact related crimes the highest, up by 2.5%. Burglary at residential premises was the second highest increase of 2.0% and theft of motors vehicles the second highest increase at 2.3%.
Life and property in the Eastern Cape are simply not valued. The burn-and-loot culture is growing in our society.
There is some relief that sexual offences are down overall by 8.5% and assault GBH is down by 6.4% as well as the improvement in crimes related to police detection, such as drug-related crimes and illegal possession of ammunition and firearms.
Drastic action needs to be taken by the SAPS to radically reduce the high rate of crime in the Eastern Cape. This requires that the vehicle management system is thoroughly overhauled so there are more visible police patrols and rapid response units available. Crime intelligence and detective work must ensure that culprits are brought before the courts. Police management needs to ensure that the SAPS is properly resourced, properly trained, properly staffed and properly equipped.
Leadership is the difference maker and it is quite clear that there needs to be a shakeup in the Eastern Cape to get better results. Under a DA-government, we would hold the provincial commissioner as well as station commissioners accountable to performance contracts. We will continue to strive to improve safety and security in this province.
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