Minister Bheki Cele: Release of 2018/19 annual crime statistics

12 Sep 2019

The official release of the annual crime statistics for financial year 2018/19 by the Minister of Police General Bheki Cele at the Imbizo Centre in Cape Town, Western Cape

Deputy Minister of Police, Mr Cassell Mathale;
The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Police, Ms Tina Joemat- Peterson and members of the Portfolio Committee;
The National Commissioner of the SAPS, General Kehla Sithole;
Deputy National Commissioners present;
Divisional and Provincial Commissioners;
The Secretary of Police, Mr Alvin Rapea;
The Acting Executive Director of IPID, Mr Victor Senna;
Statistician General of SA Resinga Maluleke
Members of the Media;
Ladies and gentleman;

Good Morning, Sanibonani, this year demands a more meaningful emphasis to what informs our fundamental existence as the police leadership towards the delivery of our fundamental mandate of ensuring that the people of South Africa are and feel safe. This morning I address the nation in the subject of the annual release of Crime Statistics as certified by the Statistician General of StatsSA as official statistics.

The current administration has received the marching orders from his Excellency, President Cyril Ramaphosa of halving violent crimes in the next decade, as the Police service we aim to achieve this goal in the shortest possible time. Therefore all our resources and operational strategies have been channelled accordingly towards achieving this target.

However members of the media, in the past year since I joined the Police Ministry, we have thoroughly analysed and debated the crime trends with the management team of the police; with specific emphasis on the number of murders as our common denominator. It is always advisable to give background in order to better contextualise any subject matter. Statistics have proven that the number of murders reported decreased from 18084 to 15 554 during the period 2009 – 2012.

Again members of the media, statistics have proven that the number of murders have drastically increased to over 4123 in the past 6 years. This background is important to contextualise the debate of whether we are increasing, maintaining of decreasing in this trend having to focus specifically on murders. Therefore we all need to have full appreciation of the task at hand given to this current leadership. The reversal of 6 years is a mammoth task, but it is doable.

Fellow South Africans, during my budget vote presentation on 11 July this year I made several pronouncements of how we intend to turn around the police including re-introduction of units that were disbanded and some units under resourced in the past 6 years. Capacitating specialised units, Detectives, HAWKS and Crime Intelligence was also announced. Part of the pronouncement was the establishment of the Ministerial Advisory Council. This is aimed at bringing knowledge and expertise from subject experts in policing, together with former Generals of the police that made a positive impact during their tenure.

Consultations in this regard have commenced, last week Friday I had a fruitful meeting with the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in this regard. I am intending to meet other relevant stakeholders in the sector, Corruption Watch, Social Justice Coalition and the Academic fraternity. The joint intergovernmental approach to the fight against crime will also yield positive results going forward, because fighting crime is everybody’s responsibility.

In the past year we have put a lot of resources to curb Cash in transit heists and other Trio crimes and this is yielding positive outcomes in this regard. Another major intervention to address the scourge of murder is our specific focus to the Western Cape which has a high murder rate.  We have introduced Operation Thunder and the Anti-Gang Unit respectively; and the SANDF intervention of Operation Lockdown is another government intervention to date.

Last year when we released the Crime Statistics of 2017/18 financial year I said ‘we dropped the ball’ and ‘I further said next year we will either reduce, maintain but definitely we will not increase.’ Ladies and gentlemen I am leading this team this morning to give that account. I am here to say - Yes the crime statistics are not looking good however they look much better than last year in addressing the 6 year drastic increase in most crime categories.

In the previous financial year the number of murders increased by 1320, that figure was halved in the financial year 2018/19 to 686. This means the rate of increase is slowing down. However when this is translated to percentage change; the figure reflects an increase of 2.6% in all contact crimes and the 17 Community-Reported Crimes increased by 0.7%.

Members of the media, all categories of crime under aggravated robbery decreased. Except for robbery at residential premises, where we registered an increase of 0.8%. While we are not where we want to be, we are definitely not where we were, there are glimmers of improvements. We have recorded decreases in crimes of fear such as cash in transit heists, bank robberies, car and truck hijackings as well as robbery at non-residential premises.

Intelligence has played a big role in infiltrating would-be robbers of cash vans and foiled their plans in many parts of the country. Police visibility at Malls and other public areas has ensured that we are a step closer to achieving goals set out in the National Development Plan.

The National Stability Intervention plan which includes Crime Intelligence, Special task force, National Intervention Unit and Tactical Response Teams for quick mobilization has also gone a long way in tackling trio crimes. We believe that the rebuilding of crime Intelligence, Hawks and better working relationships with State Security Agency, National Prosecution Authority, Department of Justice and the Department of Defence will continue to produce favourable results. Going forward we will spread the focus and resources to areas of concern to ensure that results are improved.

The crime statistics to be presented cover 21 crime categories, namely 17 Community reported crimes and four other crime categories detected as a result of police action. The scope of the crimes was reported at all 1154 police stations, including satellite stations and ports of entry nationwide.

 All crimes were either reported by the victim, witness, third-parties or detected by members of the South African Police Service.

The Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) unit continues to be one of the best units within the SAPS with the fundamental responsibility to protect and serve women children and vulnerable groups.

The FCS has 185 units to deal with gender-based violence including sexual offences; in the past financial year of 2018/2019, the FCS recorded 658 life sentences out of 504 registered cases. It is through the highly specialised investigative work that 387 suspects were sentenced to 20 years and above.

Since the re-establishment, the FCS achieved  the following life sentences; 2010/2011- 167, 2011/2012 – 389, 2012/2013 - 826, 2013/2014 - 645, 2014/2015 - 612, 2015/2016 – 298, 2016/2017 - 511, 2017/2018 – 692 and  2018/2019 – 658. It is a total of 4 798 life sentences.

Plans to increase the number of FCS units countrywide and to recruit and train more women officers to work within this specialised environment are underway. To further fight the scourge of violence against women, we have heeded President Ramaphosa’s call to reopen the investigation of all cold cases of gender based crimes in the country.

Fellow South Africans, members of the media the 2018/2019 annual crime statistics were declared as official statistics in line with prescripts of the South African Statistical Quality Assessment Framework (SASQAF). This stamp of approval will finally put to rest questions of the authenticity and legitimacy of the Crime Statistics.

The Statistician General will read his foreword to the media and thereafter The National Commissioner General Sithole and Major General Sekhukhune will give a presentation which will reflect an overview of the 2018/2019 annual crime statistics in comparison with the same period in the previous financial year being 2017/2018:

Crime Category



3.4 %

Sexual Offences


Attempted Murder


Assault to do grievous bodily harm


Common Assault


Common Robbery


Robbery with aggravating circumstances

1.2 %

All Sexual Offences increased by 4.6%

Crime Category




Sexual Assault


Attempted Sexual Offences


Contact Sexual Offences


All categories of crime under Aggravated Robbery decreased except for Robbery at Residential Premises which registered an increase

Crime Category




Robbery at Residential Premises


Robbery at Non-Residential Premises


Robbery of Cash-In-Transit


Bank Robbery


Truck hijacking


 Contact-Related Crimes increased by 1.6%

Crime Categories




Malicious damage to property


All Property-Related Crimes decreased except with the exception of stock theft which has increased by 2.9%. Burglary at non-residential premises has stabilised.

Crime Categories


Burglary at non-residential premises


Burglary at residential premises


Theft of motor vehicle and motor cycle


Theft out or from motor vehicle




Other Serious Crimes decreased by 1.4% except for Commercial Crimes

Crime Category


All theft not mentioned elsewhere


Commercial Crime (fraud, scams, corruption etc)




Crime Detected As a Result of Police Action has decreased by 21.8%

Crime Categories


Illegal possession of firearms and ammunition


Drug-related crime


Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs


Sexual Offences detected as a result of police action


The above is a broad overview of the crime statistics presented.

I thank you.

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