Police Minister Bheki Cele on Sunday welcomed the general decrease in serious and violent crimes, attributing this to amongst other factors, the prohibition of the sale and movement of liquor since the COVID-19 nationwide lockdown.

The 2019-2020 National Crime Statistics are yet to be released officially – however, Cele says the preliminary reports show a decrease.

Analysing the crime and comparing the first week of the lockdown to the same period in 2019, Minister Bheki Cele confirmed that:

– murder cases had dropped from 326 to 94;

– rape cases dropped from 699 to 101;

– cases of assault with intention to inflict grievous bodily harm, dropped from 2 673 to 456; and

– trio crimes dropped from 8 853 to 2 098.

“Car or truck hijacking, business robberies, and house robberies which are collectively grouped as trio crimes, are arguably the most violent crimes where the perpetrators are commonly armed with illegal firearms. These are the type of crimes that are known to instill fear amongst our citizens.”

Cele confirmed that the number of gender-based violence complaints remained high and concerning.

“Over 2 300 calls or complaints have been registered since the beginning of the lockdown on 27 March 2020 until 31 March 2020 and from these, 148 suspects were charged. The figure in relation to calls or complaints between January 2020 and 31 March 2020 stands at 15 924. Once all reports have been consolidated, the figures will be measured against the number of calls or complaints received through the GBV Command Centre in 2019, where the figure stands at 87 920.”

In the video below, Minister Cele discusses the drop in crime:

Recently, Cele announced that no shop will be allowed to sell cigarettes during the lockdown as they are non-essentials. He was responding to the Western Cape government’s decision to lift the ban on the sale of cigarettes, emphasising that they may only be sold together with essential goods.

“This thing of people wanting to buy cigarettes ‘ayikho’, there’s no cigarette sales here. I’m told that in one province, they wanted to do that. We spoke to the Premier to say should we find that your shops are selling cigarettes; we shut down your shop. Nothing essential about cigarettes; this disease attacks your lungs so don’t add extra pressure on your lungs by smoking.”

In the video below, Minister Cele monitors lockdown compliance in Tzaneen, Limpopo: