Notable drop in cash-in-transit heists, bank & house robberies: Bheki Cele

29 July 2020 - 12:03 By Unathi Nkanjeni
Police minister Bheki Cele acknowledged the country's crime statistics were not always accurate and that many people do not feel safe in SA.
Police minister Bheki Cele acknowledged the country's crime statistics were not always accurate and that many people do not feel safe in SA.
Image: Esa Alexander

The police have seen a decrease in cash-in-transit heists, bank robberies and house robberies.

This is according to police minister Bheki Cele, who said there was a notable decrease in cases related to the three crimes.

Speaking to eNCA on Tuesday, Cele said crime statistics would be published soon. He acknowledged that these were not always accurate and that many people did not feel safe in SA.

Cele said there was a breakdown of trust between the police and citizens in some areas, but stressed this was not the case in all areas.

“There are some good results achieved by the police. The fact that prisons are 37% overpopulated means police are doing their job to send people there for a very long time," said Cele.

“Of course, there will be bad apples among the police family who are giving us a bad name, but there are also very good police officers who are doing a very good job.”

Last month, the SA Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) released its annual crime stats for 2019.

The report said associated robberies decreased by 2%. An associated robbery is a violent bank-related robbery of cash or a bank card committed against a bank client en route to or from a bank branch, ATM or cash centre to make a deposit or withdrawal.

Sabric said cash-in-transit robberies decreased by 16% and ATM attacks decreased by 9%.

“Collaboration is critical when it comes to combating organised financial crime. Sabric is well positioned to do just that by leveraging the collective efforts of its members and stakeholders. These results show what's possible,” said the centre's chief executive, Nischal Mewalall.

Gender-based crimes

Cele said SA prisons were overcrowded with perpetrators of gender-based violence (GBV).

“There are 4,728 people doing life sentences in SA because of those cases, which means certain police investigated and did very well for the judge to give a life sentence,” said Cele.

He said women are often raped in the home and places where they are supposed to be safe.

“What must police do if you are raped in your own home, by your own husband, your boyfriend, your uncle, your father? Hence the call is a societal matter,” said Cele.

Clearing criticism about the GBV statement he made on Power 98.7 on Monday, Cele said that when a woman's situation becomes so bad that she is killed, that would not have been the first time she had been attacked.

“For instance, the woman [Sanelisiwe Mfaba] who was killed in Dobsonville by her taxi driver boyfriend, the brother said this was the fifth attempt,” said Cele. “The question is: where are the friends, where are the families when the previous attempts happened?

“Unfortunately, the police come at the tail end, react, and arrest you, but someone is already gone.”