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SA: Bheki Cele: Address by Police Minister, at the release of the quarter one crime statistics 2023/2024, Pretoria, Gauteng (18/08/2023)


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SA: Bheki Cele: Address by Police Minister, at the release of the quarter one crime statistics 2023/2024, Pretoria, Gauteng (18/08/2023)

Police Minister General Bheki Cele
Police Minister General Bheki Cele

18th August 2023


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Good Afternoon
Ladies and Gentlemen

The National Crime figures we are releasing today are derived from cases reported to and detected by the SAPS from April to June 2023. This marks the first quarter of 2023/2024 financial year. The crime statistics give us a sober assessment of the state of crime in the country and the progress made by law enforcement to safeguard this nation and its people.

We have analysed these recent figures and this Ministry remains persuaded, that the decision to aggressively and strategically confront crime, was the right one. This aggressive approach I am referring to, entails intensified policing operations to prevent and combat crime during high density operations in all provinces. 2 While there are still unacceptably high crime levels, Police are pushing back on crime, especially violent crime, which is starting to show some decreases.


Fellow South Africans, For the first time since COVID-19 reached our shores in 2020, the murder rate of the country has declined in a single quarter. Between April and June this year, police recorded 6 228 counts of murders.


This is 196 less people killed compared to the same time last year. Out of the 6 228 people killed during April to June, 1 188 were women and children. Apart from the Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape, ALL provinces recorded decreases for murder in this quarter.

While the Northern Cape recorded a 11.1% increase in murders, much welcomed double-digit percentage declines were noted in the Limpopo and North West provinces. The murders for April to June 2023 in those two provinces dropped by 10.0% and 11.5% respectively. Case docket analysis shows that firearms, knives and sharp instruments remain the three top weapons of choice for murder.


Majority of the people murdered during this period were killed either during an argument, an act of vigilantism or their lives were cut short while being robbed. Of course the 3.1% decline in the murder rate is no cause for celebration. 6 228 is not just a number. It is people whose lives were cut short at the hands of another.

The 3.1% reduction in the country's murder rate must, however, further bolster all policing interventions that have led to less people being killed in our country. Ladies and Gentlemen, Apart from the drop in murder counts, notable decreases in other crime categories have also been observed during April to June this year.

These include decreases in sexual offences by 1.9%, TRIO crimes declined by 5.2%, property-related crimes decreased by 4.5% and contact related crimes decreased by 1.6% Further declines have also been noted in rape and sexual assaults counts reported to the police, in the three months of reporting. Both crime categories recorded 2.8% and 3.8% decreases respectively.

Statistics also show that police are making inroads in upscaling the protection of people’s properties. All property related crimes such as burglaries residential, burglary non-residential, stock theft, theft of motor vehicles and theft out of motor vehicles recorded significant declines.

While ALL crimes have an impact on ordinary South Africans, It is motivating that we are starting to see decreases in crimes that instill fear amongst the people of this country. We are pleased that there has been less counts of contact related crimes, particularly common and street robberies as well as hijackings which declined by over 6% (6,4%). There were over one thousand less counts of car jackings and robberies at non-residential areas in the three months of reporting.

However, it does remain concerning that robberies at people's homes are still stubbornly high. We must strengthen policing efforts and work closer with the private security sector and community patrollers to prevent such home invasions where people are meant to be the safest.

Members of the media, It must be emphasised that these decreases are NOT coincidental. It is through the up scaling of visible policing and conducting disruptive operations targeting high crime areas that we are starting to see improvements. The tracking and tracing of wanted suspects is also proving to be an effective tool. Serial offenders including serial rapists are being pursued and incarcerated.

This is reflected in the decreases in rapes and other sexual offences. Despite these drops, we all can agree that the police together with society must do more to protect the country’s women and children. The crime figures show that majority of sexual assaults are still taking place between people that are familiar with each other.

Sexual assaults are taking place in the homes of victims and perpetrators. It is on this score that we call on society not to look away. Fighting crime starts in the home.

Operation Shanela

The aggressive policing approach has also been bolstered through Operation Shanela, which was launched on the 8th of May 2023. While it is early days, the effectiveness of the high-density operations are showing in the decline of these crime figures. 5 While the declines cannot all be attributable to Operation Shanela, its value and impact to the overall policing strategy is noticeable.

Communities have so far welcomed the aggressive approach to crime and it is on this score, that the policing strategies that are leading us in the right direction will be intensified for more favourable results.

As of today, Operation Shanela has netted 99 thousand 754 suspects for various crimes including murder, rape, assault and other serious charges. Mphakathi, Operation Shanela is here to stay! Provincial Commissioners are urged to continue to lead from the front. Work with your members on the ground and sweep clean all crime-ridden areas in your provinces.

Police Killings

Ladies and Gentlemen, These decreases in many of the crime categories would not have been achieved without the dedication, determination and hard work of the men and women in blue. Keeping South Africa safe and going toe-to-toe with criminals is also coming at a high cost for the police service.

Police Wellness

This Ministry remains very concerned about the rate in which police officers are being killed in the line of duty in South Africa. It cannot be normal that 31 police officers are killed in three months. The DPCI continues to arrest those who choose to undermine the state, by targeting police for their criminal gains.

 Through the diligent investigative work of the Directorate, nine convicted police killers were handed down 9 life imprisonment sentences and sum total of 158 years imprisonment. Far too many of our officers are also dying off duty. Commissioner, This must push you and your management team to double-up your efforts in the improvement of the wellness of officers.

Police are assets of this nation and must be taken care of physically, mentally and psychologically; so they can serve their communities better.


As I conclude, I want to take this opportunity to thank and salute ordinary South Africans in fighting crime together with the police and all law enforcement agencies. We also salute structures in communities such as Community Police Forums for their conviction and their participation in the battle against criminality. Iphoyisa Yi Phoyisa Ngo’mphakathi.

We have long ago realized that fighting crime is not only the business of the police. This government is continually working to make our streets, communities and cities safer places. It is work in progress. We believe that it is not something we will be able to achieve overnight, but it can and it WILL be done. With these opening remarks, let me hand over to Major General Thulare Sekhukhune to give a detailed breakdown of the crime statistics. I thank you all.


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