by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – A DAY after the police minister released statistics retaining South Africa as the world’s rape capital and murder hotspot, a presidential aide received a grisly package in her home letterbox.
It was some death threats in the form of a letter and a bullet.
In a case of corruption fighting back, the Director-General in the Presidency, Phindile Baleni, received the threats.
It is believed this is part of the unknown aggressors to deter her and the Presidency from processing of the findings of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture.
However, a worrying trend that is emerging in recent times, coinciding with the release of crime statistics and South Africa commemorating Child Week, is the murder of children, in sometimes by their parents.
Among other gruesome murders is the killing of a six-year-old girl who was found murdered, with her womb and knees removed.
There was also the raping and sexual exploitation of a two-year-old by a 52 year old man.
A Durban mother has been arrested for allegedly killing her three-year-old daughter with a wooden rolling pin.
In another shocking incident, a Gauteng father poisoned his four children- three died – through energy drink.
The Free State high court in March handed a life sentence to a father who murdered his son to spite the boy’s mother.
A North West man allegedly killed his mother and drank her blood.
The horror list is endless.
All these were underlined by statistics issued by Minister Bheki Cele, to a shell-shocked nation that is unsafe mostly for women and children.
Adding to economic turbulence, the first three months of 2022 were lamented as violent, brutal and unsafe for most South Africans.
There were 6 083 murders between January and March 2022. Statistics indicate a shocking 67 murders per day.
The country recorded a 22,2 percent increase in murder from the same period last year.
At least 306 children were killed.
Arguments, vigilantism, revenge or retaliation and robberies are the main causative factors of the deaths.
Most murders occur on open fields, streets, parking areas and abandoned buildings.
Liquor outlets and public transport such as buses, taxis or trains, are other most likely places to be killed in South Africa.
There were 10 818 rapes in the same period of 2022, or 153 such cases daily. This represents a 13,7 percent escalation from the previous year.
Liquor is blamed for 1 309 rapes, highlighting the country’s well known alcohol consumption crisis.
Reports of children and women being murdered have increased by 37,2 percent and 70,5 percent respectively.
Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, noted this could be a tip of the iceberg, the reality being many continued to suffer from extreme forms of violence, in silence.
“Therefore, we are really faced with a shadow pandemic of violence against women and children,” she said.
Cele said the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment, increasingly encouraged opportunistic criminal behaviour.
In the first quarter of 2022 there were 32 783 robberies with aggravated circumstances as well as 3 306 kidnappings, up a staggering 109,2 percent from last year.
Cele blamed poverty, inequality and unemployment for the “opportunistic criminal behaviour.”
The World Bank in March said South Africa remained the most unequal country in the world.
Cele said nonetheless, police had made some breakthroughs by intercepting criminal syndicates involved in extortion, kidnapping, cash-in-transit heists and drugs smuggling.
“Unfortunately, their collective actions have not yielded the expected results,” the police minister said.
Cele has resisted pressure to resign from the position.
The main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) heightened calls for his dismissal following the release of the recent statistics.
“This is a slap in the face to the law abiding citizens of South Africa and especially to the 6 083 people who unnecessarily lost their lives due to his utter incompetence,” said Andrew Whitfield, DA Shadow Minister of Police.
The party has denounced the first three months of the year as “The 90-day bloodbath” because of the crime spate.
“The current model of policing under national government is failing the people of South Africa,” Whitfield said.
The opposition party is advocating for decentralising the police service to improve accountability and service delivery.
After the release of the crime statistics, President Cyril Ramaphosa met political parties to discuss concerns about South Africa’s security and stability.
“President Ramaphosa said the social and economic conditions in which South Africans lived were at the core of the crime problem in the country, alongside criminal elements keeping communities in fear,” presidential spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya, said.
– CAJ News