Minister Cele must explain how SAPS members get simple warnings for rape and murder

The DA will write to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Police, Francois Beukman, to request that he urgently summon the Police Minister, Bheki Cele, to explain how it is possible that South African Police Service (SAPS) members who have been found guilty of rape or murder merely receive written or verbal warnings or fines.

This astounding information has been revealed by a report of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) submitted to Parliament.

A total of 180 SAPS members were found guilty in disciplinary hearings by SAPS on various misconduct charges and the penalties awarded for serious charges such as murder and rape ranged from written and verbal warnings, fines and corrective counselling.

Police members who have been found guilty of rape or murder have no place in the SAPS and must be dismissed immediately.

This is absolutely shocking and is a direct indictment on Minister Cele and the entire ANC government for failing to professionalise the SAPS so that they can protect the most vulnerable in our society.

The South African public already fear for their lives on a daily basis. This report seems to indicate that we have as much to fear from the rotten apples acting with impunity in the law enforcement department that is supposed to keep us safe.

The report further revealed that in places such as Kwanyamazane, Watervalboven and Greylingstad in the Mpumalanga province, SAPS members only received final written warnings and a R500 fine complaints for murder. In Mhala, SAPS members received written warnings after being found guilty of rape.

As concerning is that fact that reports of torture by  police to IPID has increased by 43% from the 2016/17 to 2017/18. This is indicative of the disdain with which some SAPS members view the lives and rights of those they are entrusted to protect.

This is entirely unacceptable and reiterates the DA’s call for a comprehensive  overhaul of SAPS leadership. If we have as much to fear from the SAPS as we do from criminals, there is no hope of bringing down the already unacceptability high levels of violent crime in our country.

What is urgently needed is a professional and properly resourced police service whose only goal is to ensure safe streets and safe homes for all South Africans.

An effective and professional SAPS must be Minister Cele’s priority. If he is not up to the task, he must step aside for someone who will not allow for murderers and rapists to be entrusted with protecting the people of our country.

The ANC government is failing our children, is failing us

The following remarks were delivered by DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Police, Dianne Kohler Barnard MP, during the debate on murder in the National Assembly today.
Why are we as a nation no longer outraged by murder?
At the very moment South Africans were protesting yesterday, two farmers were murdered. One in Deneysville, brutally beaten and then shot nine times. His 12 year old son, also terribly beaten, has survived. And yet another farmer was murdered on a farm in Vryheid. Statistics show us that these are likely to be only the tip of the iceberg – 50 more people from our townships to our suburbs, from our farms to our cities, throughout our country, might have met their end in a gruesome murder yesterday, and 52 more will lose their lives today.
Yet the deaths of these 52 South Africans will remain virtually unremarked. Such as, for example, Andrew and Loryn Monakane. The Monakane’s were brutally murdered on their farm Graigmont, near Dewetsdorp in the Free State. He was shot dead, probably not before she was gang raped, but certainly before she was shot in the face. She died the next day.
This attack on two upcoming black farmers slipped by barely making a blip on the radar and from the media’s side there seemed to be little interest. Shortly before their murder another black farmer from the Eastern Cape and his housekeeper were also murdered. No one here knows about it.
Rural areas today are beyond unsafe and the refusal or inability of the police to institute proper rural security measures not only aggravates the situation but has led to the extraordinary pressure-cooker gatherings around the country yesterday during the Black Monday protests.
But of course farmers are by no means the only victims of this terrible violent scourge.
So: 52 murders a day – our babies, our children, our teenagers, our husbands, our wives, our mothers, our fathers.
109 of them are raped each and every day, often before being murdered. 46 of them are hijacked each day, often before being raped and then murdered.
Our police are not even close to getting a grip on violent crime, despite a budget that has been increased by almost 50% since 2011/12 to R87 billion.
How did we become a nation where, the Minister tells me, child murders in South Africa increased 14.5%, totalling a truly appalling 969 cases in a single year? Three children murdered daily. What is worse is that this was a question put to various former Ministers of Police from 2014, and it wasn’t deemed important enough to answer until three years later.
How is it possible that there is such a damning lack of urgency shown by the government in tackling the scourge of child murders? The DA has been trying to pin down statistics for child homicide rates in South Africa for the past ten years, but have been frustrated by a government that is either unwilling to address the crisis, embarrassed by it or indifferent to it.
And how are our children dying? Mainly they are stabbed to death. Alternatively they are shot, cut, beaten to death by bare hands, by sticks, by stones and bricks, strangled with string or wire, poisoned, or kicked to death. You get the idea.
This is the reality our South African babies face from the moment they are born and this is the news every Mother dreads hearing. That this is what has happened to their baby. Inconceivable but it happens.
These gruesome statistics serve as clear evidence that this government is failing our children, is failing us.
It is a societal problem. Parents are perhaps only too keen to be hands-off, to leave even the most basic training to the schools where our children are increasingly at risk as teachers could hold one of our daughters down and gang rape her. Inconceivable but it happens.
The problem is, such is the fear and sometimes even loathing of our SAPS, that people run from them when they should run to them. Sadly, when they do run to them, they have no vehicles, or no drivers’ licences, or no staff. Or they demand money.
So fewer and fewer South Africans bother to report crimes to the SAPS. This makes the annual crime statistics look good if nothing else. If they are able to afford it, citizens pay for Private Security, and endless beams and alarms and bulletproof doors. If they can’t, they don’t sleep at night but lie awake terrified as shots ring out in the streets.
The damage done by Jacki Selebi, who shut down all specialised units, saw all experts in child-related crimes dumped from the FCS units, to areas where their expertise wasn’t wanted or needed.
Finally, in the face of plummeting conviction rates, some Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) Units were reopened but remain ‘Cinderella Units’, under-staffed and under-resourced, and there simply are not enough of them.
And of course, effective policing cannot be realised while many stations still do not have victim-friendly rooms and rape test kits.
Because of the disaster that is the SAPS Crime Intelligence, sex trafficking syndicates and the stealing of our young girls will not be stopped and drug Lords remain free to lead our children into their dark and terrible lives.
Because of the disaster that is the SAPS laboratory based in bits and pieces of Amanzimtoti, with 456 drug-related samples swept out to sea in a flood, criminals are laughing all the way home. This laboratory is, or was, housed by Public Works in what is today a slum building that has been flooded four times.
Thousands of samples must now be shifted along with 120 staff to the other three national labs, at massive expense.
And the SAPS wonder why the citizens of South Africa don’t put them on the sort of pedestal they stand on in countries like Germany or France.
We have had three failed NPCs, one acting NPC, suspended, and a second on the way out, I gather. Are we to wait until the ANC congress before another political appointment is made or will we finally see someone brought in who won’t steal, spend money like water, oversee another Marikana, or involve his or herself in internal politics?
We need the highest possible qualifications wrapped around a spine of steel. If we’re given another unqualified, unsuitable Commissioner, we may yet see our daily murder rate reach 60 a day.

Murder is a trauma felt by many families, including my own

The following speech was delivered by DA Shadow Minister of Police, Zakhele Mbhele MP, during the debate on murder in the National Assembly today.
We welcome this opportunity for Parliament to debate the scourge of murder affecting all South Africans on a daily basis, a motion proposed by the DA following last week’s release of the annual crime statistics which showed that violent and organised crimes continue to increase. This ongoing trend is a reflection of police ineffectiveness under the ANC and has brought the crisis of rampant criminality once more to the fore of the public mind.
The recent crime statistics showed that all South Africans, irrespective of race or background, can become a target of violent crime. Every South African knows the feeling of fearing for their life and the lives of their loved ones. Women and children are the most vulnerable, often being the targets of horrific rapes and a shocking seven women and children are murdered every day.
This is a trauma and tragedy that has been known and felt by many families, including my own. In about 2 weeks, on the 15th of November, it will mark 7 years since my mother was brutally murdered with multiple stab wounds, the result of a labour dispute gone horribly wrong with her gardener, at least based on what was revealed during court testimony of the accused who pleaded guilty and received the maximum sentence for murder.
In our case, we were luckier than most in that the suspect was apprehended within days and we were able to gain closure because justice was done, notwithstanding the year-long delay in the scheduling of the case at the Regional Court because it took that long for the DNA test results to come back from the SAPS Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL).
The issues of processing backlogs, lack of capacity and inefficient administration in the FSL environment affect the lives of people already in a traumatised state in very real ways. At this juncture, I must pay tribute to the investigating officer in my mother’s murder’s case, Warrant Officer Jaco Wentzel of the Deneysville SAPS, who was a laudable help in providing regular feedback and progress updates to our family, despite the hindrances that plagued the system.
Now I know that the ANC may come up to this podium and talk about how South Africa has always been a violent society, that centuries of violence have been perpetrated against communities through imperialism, colonialism and apartheid and that cycles of violence perpetrate themselves as a legacy of our oppressive past.
We do not deny or negate the role of history and how its effects play out in contemporary patterns of social dysfunction. However, this reasoning surely loses its potency as time goes by. No one can reasonably expect centuries of that history to be undone or reversed in 23 years but we can reasonably expect to have made faster progress than we have under the ANC. As a country, we should have been further along and should have minimised the intensification of the problem, as has become the case in many contexts.
Were it not for the cronyism, corruption and state capture that has come to define ANC misgovernance, starting with the Arms Deal in the late 1990s and culminating in the Zupta saga revelations and politically motivated manipulation at state owned enterprises, we could have ensured that more poor and economically marginalised citizens were better provided for, had access to more jobs through inclusive economic growth and enjoyed more opportunities for sustainable livelihoods.
Had the ANC governed and delivered as it promised and South Africa been able to realise more of its potential, we would have had better prospects to repair our damaged social fabric which gives fertile context for domestic and interpersonal violence, rather than having seen a continued and exacerbated fraying of the social fabric. Had the ANC governed and delivered as it promised, perhaps a labour dispute would not be escalated by a desperation and despair over scarce economic resources into a murder.
Thus the scourge of violence in South Africa is a damning indictment on the ANC government.
Even with the social fabric issues aside, the fact is that violent and organised crime in South Africa has been a growing contributing factor to the epidemic of murder and has long reached crisis point. Sadly, the SAPS has been losing the fight, in large part, a direct result of the chronic under-training, under-staffing, under-resourcing and under-equipping of the Police Service (the four U’s), combined with crime intelligence-in-crisis and detectives-in-distress, meaning that the SAPS is unable to tackle organised crime and the syndicates who drive it and lack a strong, skilled investigative capacity to ensure high detection and conviction rates.
The four U’s, combined with poor leadership, low professionalism and weak accountability in the police service all mean that the SAPS is unable to get a grip on and successfully bring crime down.
Enough is enough, genoeg is genoeg, kwanele kwanele. We need to take our country back from the criminals that are crippling our society with fear and the criminals who have hampered and hollowed out the capability of the criminal justice system to bring them to book.
The fundamental problem we face as a country in effectively tackling and reducing the murder epidemic and the criminality that feeds into it is a lack of political will within the ANC national government to do the things that are required to turn the police service around to make it an effective crime-fighting organisation.
We can no longer rely on the ANC to fix the problem. The hope for the reduction of unemployment, poverty and crime, resulting in safe streets and safe homes, lies only in a post-ANC South Africa. As the DA, we are committed to seeing violent crime being rooted out of our communities and the realisation of freedom, fairness and opportunity for all. We stand with every South African who has been a victim of crime.
The only solution so that we stand a chance of having an effective police service and a more prosperous nation is for the ANC to be voted out of power and for a DA-led government to be elected in 2019 that will have the political will to fix the fundamentals in the police and grow the economy for the benefit of all the people.

Parliament to debate the scourge of crime and murder in South Africa

On Tuesday, 31 October, Parliament will debate the scourge of crime and murder in South Africa, as requested by the DA.
The recent crime statistics have shown that all South Africans, irrespective of race or background, can become a target of violent crime. Every South African knows the feeling of fearing for their life and the lives of their loved ones.
Women and children are the most vulnerable, they are often the targets of horrific rapes and a shocking seven women and children are murdered every day.
In townships across South Africa crime has reached crisis levels as murder, rape and brutal attacks have become the order of the day.
Rural communities are also under siege. Farmers, farmworkers, and other rural residents live in constant fear, as numbers of people in rural communities being brutally murdered increase year on year.
Violent crime is not targeted at one specific group or groups. The 52 murders and 109 rapes that occur every day are crippling communities across the racial and socio-economic spectrum.
The scourge of violence in South Africa is a damning indictment on the ANC government.
Violent crime in South Africa has reached crisis point and sadly the South African Police Services (SAPS) seems to be losing the fight.
The time has come for Minister Fikile Mbalula to urgently reinstate the specialised units, which were successful at targeting specific crimes such as rural safety units, anti-drug and gang units. These were disabled with no effective alternative to replace them.
Enough is enough. We need to take our country back from the criminals that are crippling our society with fear.
No life has more value than another. Every life lost in these tragic crimes, is one life too many.
As the DA we are committed to seeing violent crime being rooted out of our communities. We stand with women, children, people in townships, rural communities and every South African who has been targeted by crime.

133 days since Richmond Municipal Manager was murdered and still no arrests

Today marks 133 days since the Richmond Municipal Manager, Sibusiso Sithole, was assassinated outside the local police station after being lured out of his office.
It was no secret that Mr Sithole was a crusader against corruption in the municipality. He supported the DA’s objection to KZN MEC for Co-operative Governance, Nomusa Dube-Ncube’s manoeuvres to appoint more full-time councillors in the cash strapped municipality.
Clearly, his push for clean governance did not sit well within factions in the ANC which ultimately led to his untimely death.
Of serious concern to Richmond residents is that, 133 days since his murder, there has not been a single arrest nor any further information or update on the investigation. It is highly suspicious that a person is gunned down outside a police station and there are no witnesses to account for what happened and no arrests have been made.
Worse still, Mr Sithole’s assassination is not part of the Premiers Commission of Enquiry into political killings in Kwa-Zulu Natal. This has only heightened the anxiety of those who would want to see justice done and the perpetrators held to account for this heinous act.
Since Mr Sithole’s death, the Deputy Mayor and a local ANC ward councillor have been murdered. It is hardly surprising that the assassinations are worsening because warring ANC factions in Richmond appear to be getting away with murder until the South African Police Services (SAPS) act accordingly to catch the perpetrators responsible .
The Democratic Alliance is calling on the police to expedite its investigation into Mr Sithole’s murder and ensure that the perpetrators face the full might of the law. Anything less will only worsen the suffering of his family who want closure.