Crime stats - The country is feeling the effects of the Zuma administration

The police ministry released South Africa's crimes stats on Tuesday at Parliament in which Minister Bheki Cele said South African are living in a war zone.

Cele told Parliament that there are 57 South Africans killed everyday and over 20 000 deaths recorded in the past financial year.

Head of Governance at Institute for Security Studies' Justice and Violence Prevention division, Gareth Newham says the police seemed to be in control up until 2011 when the police were under the leadership of Riah Phiyega.

He says the effects of the Zuma administration were felt and the country started seeing increases in robberies, murders and the deterioration in the performance of the police.

Unfortunately we are now in a situation six years down the line where the murder rates are the highest and we haven't seen murder rates like this since about ten years ago and now the police minister is sitting with a problem that should've been avoided in the first place.

Gareth Newham, Head of Governance at Institute for Security Studies' Justice and Violence Prevention division

Newham says the problem started when the president of the country used his power to appoint someone who had no experience in policing, who had no idea and understanding on how to reduce crime.

Unfortunately, Riah Phiyega did not want to listen to people who knew what they were talking about. She forced out good, very experienced police officials and promoted people who weren't police officials and did not know what they were doing.

Gareth Newham, Head of Governance at Institute for Security Studies' Justice and Violence Prevention division

So police officers at grassroots level were not getting the strategic direction they needed in order to take the resources they had and identify the criminal networks and, where the whole thing fell apart.

Gareth Newham, Head of Governance at Institute for Security Studies' Justice and Violence Prevention division

Policing is about leadership, it is about strategy.

Gareth Newham, Head of Governance at Institute for Security Studies' Justice and Violence Prevention division

Newham says with the new police commissioner and the minister there is hope that things will change for the better.

Dominique Dix-Peek, knowledge manager at the Centre for the Studies of Violence and Reconciliation says South Africa is a country in crisis in terms of gender-based violence.

The police ministry reported an increase in gender-based violence but Dix-Peek says they believe that was not a true reflection and the numbers are much higher than that.

She says the stats have shown that the sexual offences get underreported

Social problems are critical problems I think we need to talk about. issues around masculinity and patriarchy in South Africa are critical because men are often seen as breadwinners and in a country with high unemployment, poverty and inequality, we really need to look into this as a crisis.

Dominique Dix-Peek, knowledge manager at the Centre for the Studies of Violence and Reconciliation

Men feel undermined and emasculated and there is a potential that they might take it out on women and children.

Dominique Dix-Peek, knowledge manager at the Centre for the Studies of Violence and Reconciliation

To hear the rest of the conversations, listen below:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Crime stats - The country is feeling the effects of the Zuma administration


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