Police Minister Bheki Cele has hailed SAPS' festive operations.
Durban – Police Minister Bheki Cele has hailed the festive operations by the South African Police Service as a roaring success, with a decrease in the murder rate and house burglaries during the festive season period. Cele said the violent crimes had reduced when compared to the 2018 festive season period.
At a media briefing held in Durban, Cele thanked the police for working around the clock with no leave, while citizens enjoyed the December festivities.
“It is on that score that I want to take this opportunity and again thank all members of the SAPS for always responding positively when duty calls,” said Cele.
He said in September, the Police Ministry alongside the top management of the police adopted the slogan “ZIZOJIKA IZINTO!” which means Turning the tide against crime.
Cele said operational plans were put in place in October to ensure more boots on the ground, especially on weekends and around areas where alcohol consumption was high.
“Police were out in their numbers conducting patrols, stop and search operations, cordon and searches and roadblocks. They also conducted compliance inspections and shut down establishments operating outside the law,” said Cele.
He said he had also conducted a countrywide inspection tour in December to assess these police-led operations.
“I was able to see for myself how residents, holidaymakers and all those visiting our shores were kept safe. I can assure you, all officers in all corners of the country were hard at work, giving criminals sleepless nights.”
Speaking about the crime statistics for this period, Cele said murder had decreased by 1,4 percent when compared with 2018.
“All crimes within the contact crime category decreased apart from common assault and robbery with aggravating circumstances.
“Women and children were also safer this festive season, with sexual offences which includes crimes such as rapes, sexual assault and attempted sexual offences decreasing by 9.9%.”
In addition property related crime, such as burglary at residential and non-residential premises as theft out of vehicles and stock theft decreased by 10.2%.
However, Cele noted with concern the increase in car hijackings which increased by 11 percent and truck hijackings which increased by 9 percent compared to 2018 festive season. A total of 388 suspects were arrested.
“I am aware that there are still some stubborn crimes that need urgent intervention and resources.”
Police confiscated 4,831 firearms and arrested 24,827 drunk drivers arrested.
Cele confirmed there were 4,048 more people were arrested by the SAPS for driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs compared to the previous comparative period.
During the festive season period police shutdown 6,124 liquor stores and taverns due to non-compliance.
“Over 2000 of these outlets were operating in the Eastern Cape,” said Cele.
He said recent embarrassing and “very concerning” conduct of some members of the police were being dealt with internally and appropriate action would be taken against those brought the organisation into disrepute.
“However, I have no doubt this great organisation is full of dedicated and committed men and women and the festive season successes are evidence of their hard work.
“These successes are as a result of planning and execution by all members of the SAPS from top management down to the newest and most junior members of the SAPS – the Constables that were on the passing out parade in December 2019.”
Cele also thanked Community Policing Forums (CPF) and neighbourhood groups who work in unison with the police in fighting crime.
“My instruction to all police officers is keep the same spirit, motivation and energy levels in the next decade as we work towards achieving the presidential goal of halving violent crime in 10 years,” said Cele.