SA's high crime rate 'a shocking' concern for right to life: Amnesty International

18 February 2022 - 19:33
By Nomahlubi Sonjica
Amnesty International SA has expressed concern over the crime rate in the country. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/PAUL FLEET Amnesty International SA has expressed concern over the crime rate in the country. Stock photo.

Amnesty International SA said the high rate of crime in SA was a “shocking” concern for the right to life and the government’s failure to protect people.

On Friday the police ministry released quarterly crime statistics which pointed to an 8.9% increase in murder between October and December 2021.

“It is disturbing that 6,859 people were murdered in the country in a space of just three months. This is 562 more people compared to the previous period. It is clear that people are not safe anywhere in SA. Urgent action is needed from the government and the SA Police Service,” said Amnesty International SA’s executive director Shenilla Mohamed.

“The fact that the top four causative factors of these deaths include vigilantism, revenge or retaliation shows that people have no trust in the police, resulting in some wrongfully taking the law into their hands. It’s the situation we saw during the July unrest,” said Mohamed.

LISTEN | CRIME STATS | SA sees reduction in some crimes but not murder

The organisation voiced concern at the government failing the country’s women as the statistics showed a 4.2% increase in female murders.

It also expressed concern that 11,315 people were raped between October and December 2021.

“We know that SA faces a problem of underreporting of such crimes, with research showing that attitudes and behaviours by police officials are large contributing factors to individuals choosing not to report, or withdrawing a case.,

“The fact that over 5,012 of the rape incidents took place at the home of the victim or the home of the perpetrator indicates that we still have a long way to go as a country to deal with this issue.”

The organisation called on the government to comply with both its own constitutional and international human rights obligations to do more to protect women in the country.

“The fact that we still have a DNA backlog ... indicates that the government is failing thousands of women who are seeking justice. Government must ensure that the backlog is cleared as soon as possible and ensure that GBV cases are investigated properly,” said Mohamed.

A rise in kidnapping incidents was also cause for concern. The statistics indicated that 2,605 kidnapping cases were opened with the police.

“This is 686 more cases of kidnapping compared to the previous reporting period. We reiterate our call for authorities to be transparent about all these cases,” said Mohamed.