2007-07-04 : Parties hammer Nqakula over crime statistics

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2007-07-04 : Parties hammer Nqakula over crime statistics

Postby GOSA » Fri, 2007-07-27 16:16


Parties hammer Nqakula over crime statistics


Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula has come in for a drubbing from opposition political parties following the release of this year’s crime statistics. The statistics showed a sharp increase in crimes that targeted homes.

The African Christian Democratic Party’s Casper Nordier said: “This shows that the minister and the national police commissioner, Jackie Selebi, have a lot of work to do. Every person should at least feel safe when inside his home.

“There’s nothing more painful than being attacked inside your own house and that is why we are greatly concerned by the figures released — they show an increase of about 25 percent in crimes that target people’s homes.”

His views were echoed by Sunday Times columnist David Bullard, a shooting victim: “If the police don’t do something about the high crime levels, South Africa will see a surge of vigilantism.” Bullard was shot in his Parkview home in March during a robbery.

“The law is on the side of the criminal,” said Bullard. “You aren’t allowed to defend yourself, you have no choice but to wait to die — it’s like living in a war zone.” The Inkatha Freedom Party’s Velaphi Ndlovu said that more police should to be deployed in residential areas.

“The minister needs to revise his approach because the increase in robberies at people’s homes proves without doubt that crime is out of control in South Africa and that its levels remain alarmingly high, contrary to what the government says.”

He said his party was also shocked at the sharp increase of 118 percent in bank robberies, at the rise in robberies at other business premises and at the increase in serious crimes such as murder by at least 2.4 percent.

DA MP and spokeswoman on safety and security Dianne Kohler-Barnard said yesterday’s statistics made a mockery of Nqakula’s assurances that crime was under control. “There have been some reported decreases, such as attempted murder (which went down by 3-percent), rape (5.2 percent) and indecent assault (5.5 percent).

“But what also needs to be taken into account is that many of the categories indicating decreases are crimes in which the victim might be strongly influenced not to report because of risks of secondary trauma, inadequate victim support and lack of victim-friendly processes. “This is especially true for sexual offences,” said Kohler-Barnard.

Boyane Tshehla, of the Institute for Security Studies, said: “Murder is the most reliable measure of crime and for the past 13 years there has been a constant decrease. But suddenly there is an increase. We should be worried. This shows that we are not winning.”

He said that the drop in soft crimes, such as common assault and common robbery, was “not a cause for celebration” because these crimes were often not reported by victims. The harshest criticism came from the AfriForum, which called on Nqakula to resign .

The organisation echoed the IFP’s belief that the data indicated that the police had lost the fight against crime.
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