- A shocking new report by United Christian Action presents
evidence that South Africa's murder statistics are even worse than official
statistics have so far admitted.
- For every 1000 crimes committed in South Africa, only
430 criminals are arrested. Of these, only 77 are convicted and barely
8 of these are sentenced to two or more years of imprisonment. It is also
calculated that South African convicts have a 94% recidivism rate (that
is, 94% of all persons released after serving a sentence immediately become
involved in crime again).
- Serious Underreporting
- The 22-page United Christian Action report by Robert
McCafferty, is based on original source documents, government archives,
the Central Statistics Service, Interpol, the South African Medical Research
Council statistics, and many other sources. The Report casts serious doubt
on the South African government's claim that the murder rate has been decreasing.
- Victims' surveys have consistently uncovered between
60% and 70% more crime than reported by official sources. Upwards of 50%
of crime in many serious categories goes unreported.
- Statistical Discrepancies
- While police crime statistics show that there were 21
683 murders in the year 2000, the Medical Research Council puts the figure
at 32 482. The MRC' s estimate is close to the figure from the Department
of Home Affairs, which is 30 068. This is a third more murders than reported
by the SAPS, a discrepancy of more than 10 000 murders.
- So, while the Democratic Alliance leaflet "Fight
Crime" puts the average daily murder rate in South Africa at 55 murders
every day, the Medical Research Council's statistics reveal that 89 murders
are committed, on average, every day in South Africa.
- Interpol claims even higher numbers of murders in South
Africa. While the SAPS claims that there were 26 883 murders in 1995,
Interpol claims that there were 54 298 "murders known to the police"
in 1995/96. Interpol's figures are approximately double the numbers of
"recorded murders" in South Africa.
- According to Interpol, South Africa has the highest recorded
per capita murder rate of the countries covered in their report for 1998,
second only to Columbia. In that year, Interpol recorded the per capita
murder rate in the USA as 6 per 100 000, while in South Africa it was 59
per 100 000.
- Organised Crime
- A report from the World Economic Forum claimed that South
Africa's organised crime was second only to Columbia's, with its frightening
drug cartels and Russia, with its omnipresent mafia. Their report claimed
widespread corruption in the South African police service - where one in
four police officers in the greater Johannesburg were under criminal investigation
at the time of the report.
- Police estimate that there are currently "about
700 extremely well financed and superbly armed crime syndicates operating
in and from South Africa." However, it was also reported that "not
a single ring leader of any of the 700 crime syndicates operating in South
Africa has been arrested."
- The Failure of the Criminal Justice System
- In 2000, only half of all murder cases were sent to court,
and only 4007 of the 'official murders' resulted in a guilty verdict.
The MRC reported 32 482 murders in 2000. This means that for every 8 murders
in 2000, only one murderer was convicted. Obviously there is a delay factor
to sentencing; however, the murder rate has been consistently high and
the conviction rate considerably low by comparison.
- One report is quoted claiming: "Despite the President's
boast that South African crime statistics are improving - with reductions
in incidents of some serious categories of offences - other figures showing
the decline of convictions suggest that the forces of law and order are
alarmingly on the retreat. Convictions for using and dealing with drugs,
for example, collapsed ."
- Alcohol Abuse
- Alcohol abuse is also shown to go hand in hand with South
Africa's culture of violence - "according to the National Injury Mortality
Surveillance System, 56% of homicide victims sampled for blood alcohol
levels tested positive."
- The Most Murderous Societies On Earth
- The Nedcore Project has concluded that: "South Africa
and Southern Africa are probably the most murderous societies on earth,
even with the probable under-reporting." The Nedcore Project claims
the results of their surveys "underscore the fact that crime has become
South Africa's pre-eminent sociological problem. It now eclipses even
unemployment in concerns of all South Africans."
- The bizarre behaviour of the ANC government in, at one
stage, imposing a moratorium on crime statistics is also questioned. The
report shows that in the first seven years of ANC rule, violence and crime
in South Africa increased by 33%, officially.
- Worse Than War
- The UCA Report on Murder in South Africa reveals that
according to the official statistics, in the 44 years from 1950 to 1993,
there was an average of 7036 murders per year. This covered the turbulent
strife of the apartheid years of warfare, conflict, terrorism, riots and
- However, in the first eight years (of peace) of the new
democratic dispensation, under the ANC, an average of 24 206 murders were
committed each year. However, if the Interpol statistics are accepted,
then the murder rate in South Africa during the ANC years has averaged
47 882 per year.
- When The Death Penalty Deterrent Is Removed The report
notes that the sharp exponential increase of violent crime, particularly
murder, in South Africa, also coincides with the suspension of the death
penalty in 1989 and its abolition in 1996.
- Official Cover Up
- Sharp discrepancies between official statistics and those
of Interpol and the Medical Research Council are considered. One observer
is quoted as saying that the "easiest way for the police to reduce
the crime rate is simply to do nothing but record only those crimes where
a case number is absolutely mandatory ." Numerous experts are quoted
as suspecting "serious under reporting"; "perhaps these
figures are concealed for political reasons '; "the reason for this
under reporting could be the desire to change the ongoing reputation of
South Africa as the crime capital of the world."
- Living Behind Bars and Locks
- Of course, few South Africans would need the impeccable
research documented in this report to convince them that security has deteriorated
and crime has escalated during the last ten years.
- No matter what the official statistics may claim, many
South Africans remember a time when most children walked or cycled to school
on their own, when most homes were not surrounded by high walls, razor
wire and spikes. When homes did not need burglar bars and security gates,
alarm systems and armed response companies and when many roads did not
need security booms. When vehicles did not need gear locks, steering locks,
alarm systems and satellite tracking devices. When we did not carry such
huge bunches of keys.
- The Releasing of Criminals
- Not considered in this report is the impact of the early
release of well over 100 000 criminals including murderers and rapists
from South African prisons.
- Some Of The Causes Of The Crime Wave
- However, the Crime Information Analyst Centre (CIAC)
of the South African Police Services is quoted as offering some socio-economic
explanations for the horrific crime rates in South Africa: "Urbanisation
of the youth . extremely conducive to crime . the role of rapid, abnormally
high rates of urbanisation (and urban unemployment) . when influx control
was removed in 1986, it released a massive urbanisation process . a massive
influx of especially young work seekers (economic refugees) to our cities
from especially neighbouring countries, but also from as far afield as
Nigeria, Morocco, Europe and China . at least 6 million undocumented immigrants
live in especially our cities . massive unemployment, with no extended
family (social support network) and subsistence economy to support their
basic needs. In the cities the only support they may find is within their
peer group. A very strong sense of relative depravation and resultant
rising expectations may also develop. The difference between rich and
poor in the city is very obvious and stark. . during the years of political
struggle . many members of the former security forces and liberation armies
were trained in guerilla warfare skills, like intelligence gathering, ambush
techniques, the handing of firearms and explosives, etc. Many of these
combatants are now out of work and many of these skills can be used to
commit hijackings, house and business robberies, bank robberies and robberies
of cash in transit."
- Disarming The Potential Victims Of Crime
- With the massive increase in organised crime, and violent
crime in South Africa, it is all the more incomprehensible that the government
should be turning their attention towards disarming the potential victims
through more rigid firearms control laws, rather than re-instating the
death penalty as a deterrent for violent crime.
- "When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried
out, the hearts of the people are filled with schemes to do wrong."
-- Ecclesiastes 8:11
- It is also an undeniable fact that criminals prefer unarmed
- The full report, Murder in South Africa: A Comparison
of Past and Present http://www.christianaction.org.za/uca/articles/murder_southafrica.doc
by Robert McCafferty, is available from United Christian Action. It can
also be viewed on the web. (Please note that it does take a while to download).
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