POPCRU’S REACTION TO THE NATIONAL CRIME STATISTICS 2013/2014
The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) acknowledges the crime statistics as announced by the South African Police Service for the 2013/2014 financial year. The union has noted with great concern the rise in crimes against persons such as murder, attempted murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances and common robbery. We are devastated by the alarming 5% murder rate greatly contributed to by the Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Northern Cape and Western Cape provinces. Human life is too valuable. We also cannot turn a blind eye on the 4.6% rise of attempted murders as they tend to lead to actual loss of life.
Since its inception, the union has pleaded with the community to be fully involved in the fight against crime rather than leaving the responsibility solely with the police. As the Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko alluded in his address today, the issue of policing in our society is everybody’s responsibility. POPCRU then calls on the Ministry to involve all stakeholders in crime fighting initiatives. We want to be a part of the creation of a society where it is every citizen’s responsibility to ensure that South Africa is a safe and secure country for all who live in it.
In the recent past, we have witnessed to confiscation of illegal drugs worth billions of rands. This is indicative of the amount of work our members are investing to ensure that we rid our country of illegal substances that eat away at our moral fibre. The police worked day and night busting drug lords across the country and destroying manufacturing labs. The 26.1% increase in drug-related crime is a bitter-sweet conundrum as the increase could be translated to mean that the police have been arresting drug peddlers and abusers in large numbers. Which if it’s the case, is cause for celebration, however because of the close link between drug use and other crimes including theft and robberies, we remain concerned. POPCRU urges the South African community to expose the masterminds behind these syndicates through the various anonymous tip-off lines. Our country is not a drug hub and we will not allow it to be. We need to work with the police to create a healthy nation in which we can raise our children with pride and dignity without fear that they will be abused or killed.
POPCRU is also worried about the increase of crimes that are known to be influenced to a certain extent by the dynamics of socioeconomic factors such as poverty, inequality and unemployment that largely characterise our society. These crimes include robbery at large, carjacking and theft. Tempting as it is to blame the police for an increase in these crimes; it is worth noting that such crimes are largely influenced by socioeconomic factors that go beyond police control. However the organisation is thrilled by a decrease in crimes that are known to indicate the social ills and dysfunctional neighbourhoods such as sexual offences.
The recorded decrease in sexual crimes such as the rape of women and children raises more questions about members of the public’s faith in the work of the police. Upon face value the organisation is tempted to accept these figures as victories, however realities of every day South African life suggest that this could very well be a tragic instance of women and children choosing silence over seeking justice and reporting their ordeals. POPCRU appeals with the SAPS management to interrogate these figures and as suggested before lift current targets set for officers to decrease sexual crimes as this might stand in the way of thorough policing.
As POPCRU, we strongly hope that these crime statistics will assist South Africa as a nation to not only be aware of what happens in their surroundings, but to take a proactive interest in being a part of the solution. We also accept as a Civil Rights Union that crimes do not happen in isolation from the general population, and in the case where we are aware of external preventable factors such as unemployment, then a holistic approach to finding solutions needs to be sought. Our members make life and death sacrifices everyday as they respond to their call to duty, the least the rest of society can do is work with them by reporting crimes, by revealing the identity of devilish individuals who seek to convert our country into a lawless state.
Issued by POPCRU 19/09/2014
For more information contact:
POPCRU General Secretary
Theto Mahlakoana (Ms)