Tsunami of violent crime sweeps across Eastern Cape

Issued by Bobby Stevenson, MPL
Shadow MEC for Community Safety

A tsunami of violent crime continues to sweep through the Eastern Cape, fuelled by a culture of lawlessness which sees people brutally murdered, buildings hijacked, long-distance buses attacked and taxi warfare.

The second quarter crime statistics, released today, once again reinforce the province’s reputation as the killing field of South Africa. In the three months under review, 1 303 people were murdered across the province, a 31,3% increase compared to the same period last year.

The Eastern Cape again has the highest per capita murder rate in the country, jumping from 18 last quarter to 19.7 per 100 000.

The province had five stations in the top 30 for murder, namely Mthatha (10), Lusikisiki (11), Kwanobuhle (15), Bethelsdorp (16) and New Brighton (25).

We have also seen an 11% spike in the number of sexual offences, from 1829 to 2030 cases, and a 30% spike in attempted murders, from 494 to 642 cases reported between July and September. Assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm has increased by 17%, from 5047 to 5906 cases reported.

The rise of stock theft is also of concern. Eight of the top 30 stations for stock theft are found in the Eastern Cape. There is a definite link between Stock theft and violent crimes, as was recently witnessed in Bityi.

I have introduced a motion that calls on the provincial commissioner to table a comprehensive plan that speaks to the violent crime running rampant through our province. We are waiting to have this motion considered.

People are living on a knife’s edge, the fear of falling victim to crime stalking them everywhere they go. Our very social fabric is breaking down. Trust is breaking down between the community and the police, as 10111 calls go unanswered in their time of need.

This is evidenced by crimes such as car hijackings, which have increased by 69,5%.

There is a real concern that people will take the law into their own hands unless a real and immediate impact is made in curbing this rampant crime,. We have already seen a spike in vigilante murders, both nationally and provincially, with 74 people murdered through mob justice in the province in the last three months.

There needs to be a massive clampdown on all criminal behaviour, with a particular focus on taking illegal weapons out of circulation.

The DA will continue the fight for safer communities in which all people can enjoy their freedoms.