By Monica Brown

Good Morning Everybody.

I travelled to attend more than one funeral the past few days. I really had to pull myself together to continue the current topic on South African communities and crime.

Death is permanent and it leaves a permanent void and a permanent scare. Especially when the death occurred due to a criminal act. No time to say goodbye and then the pain to deal with the criminal justice system is more painful.

The calls by South Africans on the police, to decisively deal with crime are clear yet it is falling on deaf ears most of the time.

One of the ways that underlying issues of poverty and inequality are evident in South Africa is the prevalence of violence and crime. Violence and crime are articulated in different ways. It can be difficult to have the full picture of the state of crime and violence in South Africa, especially regarding some crimes which tend to be under-reported.

However, the impact of crime and violence is widespread and includes pain and trauma, economic loss, eroding social cohesion, unfulfilled human potential, and a national psyche of fear.

2022/2023 Quarter three crime statistics are not looking good at all.

82 people are killed each day in the country according to police minister Bheki Cele.

Presenting the third quarter crime statistics for the period October to December 2022 before parliament’s police committee , Cele said the police had reported 7 555 murders in the three months, which was 669 more killings than in the preceding quarter.

This equated to 82 murders a day, up from 74 a day during the third quarter of 2021.

Sexual assaults also rose, with 15 545 reported cases, up 1 357 from the second quarter. This translated to 169 sexual offences a day.


Attempted crime which refers is defined as a crime where an individual, with the intent to actually commit a crime, undertakes an action in furtherance of that crime, but ultimately fails. Attempted crime showed a large increase , rising by 24.3% accounting for 7,016 cases.This is clearly an indication that criminals have no regard for the law and they are determined to try no matter what it leads to. The involvement of corrupt law enforcement also plays a big part here.

Violent robberies, which involve the use of dangerous weapons, were at 37 829 in the third quarter, meaning a staggering 411 people were robbed every day.Common robbery (21.2%), common assault (12.0%), assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm (8.7%), and robbery with aggravated circumstances (10.8%).

Overall, the total number of contact crimes increased by 19,067 (11.6%) from Q3 2021 to Q3 2022.

South Africa ranks third on list of countries with highest crime rate in 2023. South Africa ranked third in the Crime Index 2023 by World Population Review with more than 76 crimes being committed in the country for every 100,000 people.


What are the latest developments related to the legislation that is looking after crime?

On 28 January 2022, President Cyril Ramaphosa signed three new GBV laws aimed at strengthening efforts to end gender-based violence (GBV) in South Africa: the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act Amendment Act, the Criminal and Related Matters Amendment Act, and the Domestic Violence Amendment Act.

The Bills were first introduced to Parliament in June 2020 following public outcry about GBV, which President Ramaphosa described as “no less than a war being waged against the women and children of our country.”

Following a year of public participatory processes, and consideration from the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces, the trio of GBV laws are set to improve protection for women, children, and gender and sexual minorities, and provide better access to justice for victims and survivors.

Changes to the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act Amendment Act include revisions that:

  • Introduce a new offence of sexual intimidation;
  • Expand the scope of the National Register for Sex Offenders (NRSO) to include the particulars of all sex offenders, and not only sex offenders against children and persons who are mentally disabled;
  • Expand the list of people who are to be protected to include other vulnerable people, such as women under the age of 25 who are studying or living in student residence; people with physical, mental or intellectual disabilities; and people over the age of 60 who, for example, receive community-based care and support services; and
  • Increase the period for which a sex offender’s particulars must remain on the Register.

The Criminal and Related Matters Amendment Act makes changes to:

  • The Magistrates’ Courts Act, 1944, to provide for the appointment of intermediaries and the giving of evidence through intermediaries in proceedings other than criminal proceedings; and the giving of evidence through an audio-visual link in proceedings with the assistance of intermediaries; other than criminal proceedings;
  • The Criminal Procedure Act, 1977, to further regulate the granting and cancellation of bail; the giving of evidence by means of an audio-visual link; the giving of evidence by a witness with physical, psychological or mental disability; and the right of a complainant in a domestic-related offence to participate in parole proceedings;
  • The Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1997, to further regulate sentences in respect of offences that have been committed against vulnerable people; and
  • The Superior Courts Act, 2013, to provide for the appointment of intermediaries and the giving of evidence through intermediaries in proceedings other than criminal proceedings; and the giving of evidence through an audio-visual link in proceedings other than criminal proceedings.

The Domestic Violence Amendment Bill amends the Domestic Violence Act of 1998 to address practical challenges and gaps in that Act, such as:

  • Including new definitions, such as “controlling behaviour” and “coercive behaviour”;
  • Expanding existing definitions, such as “domestic violence”, to include spiritual abuse, elder abuse, coercive behaviour, controlling behaviour, and subjecting children to certain listed behaviour;
  • Removing gender binary terms and relying on gender-neutral terminology to ensure inclusive and equal protection for all persons.
  • Expanding the scope of the Act to apply to forms of harm that occur through the use of electronic communication, including unreasonably and repeatedly contacting a person online monitoring or tracking a person’s movements or activities without their consent, or disclosing an electronic message that is abusive, degrading, offensive or humiliating, or violates or offends the sexual integrity or dignity of a person.
  • Introducing online applications for protection orders against acts of domestic violence and imposing obligations on the Departments of Health and Social Development to provide certain services to survivors of domestic violence.

Learn more about the new GBV laws:

  • The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act Amendment Act is available here.
  • The Criminal and Related Matters Amendment Act is available here.
  • The Domestic Violence Amendment Act is available here.
  • The Presidency’s statement about the trio of Acts is available here.

Final Thoughts:

Crime affected me in the past 10 years more than ever. It left me scared, scarred and completely not able to be free.

I had a look at the crime statistics before and during the COVID-19 period just for interest sake.

  • South Africa crime rate & statistics for 2020 was 33.46, a 8.11% decline from 2019.
  • South Africa crime rate & statistics for 2019 was 36.42, a 0.05% increase from 2018.
  • South Africa crime rate & statistics for 2018 was 36.40, a 2.04% increase from 2017.
  • South Africa crime rate & statistics for 2017 was 35.67, a 5.44% increase from 2016.

The effect of COVID 19 on crime was clearly visible.South Africa is a particularly interesting setting to study the effect of the COVID-19 lockdown on crime due to various reasons. The country was hit particularly hard by the pandemic and had implemented very strict lockdown rules, especially during April and May 2020, largely restricting people’s movements. South Africa have one of the highest crime rates in the world, especially in larger cities.

Crime rates and mobility are interlinked as the decreases in crime rates are at least partially explained by reduced mobility, which shows this being an important channel of crime reduction. Police resources should be re-allocated and assigned taking mobility in consideration.

We need to look at our current policies as it is true that areas with increased mobility are more likely to experience a higher crime incidence and should therefore receive higher attention from police forces. Data collection on mobility could play a vital role in fighting crime in the future for South Africa.

In essence the change in crime rates has been only temporary showing that the decrease in crime during the COVID-19 period was due to the implemented strict measures, with multi-level lockdowns, curfews, the ban on travel, and restrictions on alcohol and cigarettes. The easing of restrictions implied that as life went back to normal, crime also rebounded to its previous levels and even escalated to monstrous levels.

Not sure what our government is doing wrong.Criminals do what they want and they really do not care at all.

Strangely enough all these criminals are related to someone. Nobody is born a criminal.The environment that they grow up in and the environment that they decide to stay in allows them to become criminals.

If we want to see a reduction in crime we need to largely look at a shift in our lifestyles. People leave their houses at any time day or night provides potential criminals with few opportunities for interpersonal crimes like assault or street robbery. We need to take responsibility for our movements and also our actions. Criminals are opportunist and they are patient.They can follow you for days before striking.

Law enforcement are not magicians nor are they sangomas or even looking at a crystal ball before starting their work on a daily basis. We as individuals must also protect ourselves and deter these criminals.We even create a market for these criminals as we buy stolen goods from them. By buying stolen goods we allow them to sell the fruit of their illegal labour.

Wine and alcohol had been around for ages and it is referred to in The Bible as well. Alcohol and drugs plays an important role in crime. If we cannot develop good strategies that will benefit our communities and the country as a whole, we will never win the fight against crime. No legislation are enforced as the law enforcers are the corrupt ones.

Access to firearms or rather guns and other weapons are too easy.No laws are being enforced properly so the battle to have a society free of guns will not be achieved for decades to come. Money and greed drives these gun smugglers.To think that military guns and ammunition were found with civilians not so long ago.

Whistle blowers and informers gets killed like dogs. Drive by shootings are a normality. Multiple killings devastate and destroy families.

Children gets killed by the ones that should be protecting them.

Where are we heading as a society in South Africa?

Security firms are blooming and our pockets are running empty just to protect our families against a small group of people that call themselves criminals or rather PPR’s- Professional Property Repossessers. Sounds funny but we get up early every morning to go to work but they come and just take what they want. We pay for the house and they enter in our homes and repossess our property like we owe them something.

The cherry on the cake is that our taxes ensure that the same criminal are safe and warmly tucked in at prison. They have food, clean water, medical benefits and also can study for free while we on the outside have to struggle just to see another day.

South African communities needs to stand up against crime. One town after the other needs to reclaim their street corners. Politicians cannot change your environment, only you can.

Monica Brown, Changemaker, Activist And Social Entrepreneur, CRW NEWS Freelance Columnist

Article Reproduced with Permission from Monica Brown

To view the original article by Monica Brown on LinkedIn visit here

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