- SA Crime Statistics Reveal Country in Crisis
South Africa’s just released crime statistics are alarming, and reveal a country in deep crisis that needs an urgent, sustained and holistic intervention framework that integrates psychological and socio-economic issues. The Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) said the country needed a nuanced understanding of what is driving the psychological, socio-economic crisis and toxic masculinity that has left a deeply wounded and broken society.
The increase in contact crimes allude to problems in interpersonal relationships with many of the crimes occurring within home settings, and mostly on weekends. CSVR believes that the violence that occurs in the family setting is perpetuated even outside homes. Distressing statistics showing that there were 736 murders committed by children and that children constitute 46.5% of all reported sexual assault cases in the country, are testimony of violence in the community mirroring what is happening in homes.
CSVR cautioned that the continued socio-economic exclusion of Africans was one of the drivers of violence and had elicited an intense reaction in black South Africans, and for some, is also a reminder of the country’s apartheid past. During apartheid, structural and psychological violence were institutionalised. After the fall of apartheid, little was done to heal the country and as a result, issues of transgenerational trauma persist and have been transferred to new generations.
Sadly, South Africa seems to be failing to deal decisively with crime. The police alone cannot deal with violent crime, and a more holistic approach is needed to combat crime. The family crisis in South Africa is in part also responsible for the crises the country faces.
“Patriarchy and toxic masculinity that encourage harmful attitudes and behaviors have also contributed to the alarming sexual violence figures that have gone up 4.6 percent. These figures do not necessarily present the full picture of the extent of GBV in the country as many cases go unreported. So the reality is that the country has far higher statistics on rape and other sexual offences,” said Nonhlanhla Sibanda Moyo, CSVR Gender Specialist.
CSVR noted that of the reported murders per day, most were likely to be young black men dying at the hands of other men, further raising worrying questions about the nature of South African society.
CSVR also noted the increase in the murder rates by 3.4%, to nearly 58 murders per day, but was concerned that figures were not adequately gender disaggregated and left many questions unanswered. There was need to consider more comprehensive reporting mechanisms that gave gender and age disaggregated data so that there was better understanding of the extend and the nature of the offences. For instance, there were other sexual offenses such as date rape and marital rape.
With regards to murder statistics, three police stations in the Western Cape topped the reported murders table. This brought into question the effectiveness of the deployment of the army to gang riddled areas in the Western Cape. Murder statistics remained high with the army deployment likely to aggravate, rather than improve the situation of crime.