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Clampdown on guns and knives as cops try to curb crime in Gauteng

47 children were killed in Gauteng between April and June

Lt-Gen Elias Mawela, Gauteng police commissioner, presented crime stats for the first quarter of the 2023/24 financial year in the provincial legislature.
Lt-Gen Elias Mawela, Gauteng police commissioner, presented crime stats for the first quarter of the 2023/24 financial year in the provincial legislature.
Image: Papi Morake / Gallo Images

In Gauteng 1,489 people were killed in Gauteng from April to the end of June this year. 

Of the total number of people killed, 167 were women and 47 were children. 

This was revealed by the provincial commissioner Lt-Gen Elias Mawela when he tabled crime statistics for the first quarter of the 2023/24 financial year in the Gauteng legislature on Tuesday. 

Mawela said though this figure looks high, it was the first time the province had registered a decline of 0.1% in murders since the Covid-19 lockdowns led to reductions in crime. 

The most common reasons people get killed in Gauteng are arguments, misunderstandings, road rage, robbery and mob justice. 

The instruments frequently used in the murders are firearms followed by knives then sharp instruments. 

“In our efforts to reduce the murder rate, we have intensified our operations to deal decisively with the proliferation of illegal firearms and to aggressively be on the search for dangerous weapons. We have managed to seize 1,877 firearms (illegal, unlicensed and stolen firearms) and 21,517 rounds of ammunition as well as 1,244 dangerous weapons through our targeted and crime intelligence-led operations, vehicle checkpoints and stop & go searches,” Mawela said. 

In the reporting period, 12 police officers were killed. Four were killed on duty while eight were killed off duty. 

Mawela said Gauteng has maintained a provincial contribution at an average of 27% over five years, of which have been observed a slight 0.4 percentage-point reduction between 2019 and 2023, from 28.3% to 27.9%, equivalent to 10,170 counts or cases. 

He said police have intensified their efforts to fight illegal mining, making arrests and confiscating illegal mining tools.

A total of 9,393 undocumented people were arrested, while the Hawks arrested 89 suspects from 40 high-level operations.

Some of those arrested by the police were involved in illegal mining, he said. 

“To maximise our visibility on the ground, we continue to enhance our private and social partnerships by tapping into their technologies to augment the little that we have managed to procure. I am talking about Gauteng’s drone policing endeavours. In hard-to-access areas, drones continue to be our eyes in the sky supporting the ground forces,” Mawela said. 

So far the province has 12 SAPS members who are certified drone pilots, and an additional nine members are undergoing training. 

Contact crimes including murder, attempted murder, sexual offences, assault and robbery have increased by 6%.

Common assault increased by 11.3%, and assault with intent to do bodily harm rose by 7.8% with a combined 20,088 counts more when compared with the previous year. 

The subcategory of sexual offences has, for the period under review, decreased by 1%. 

The trio of carjackings, house robberies and business robberies declined because of a double-digit reduction recorded on carjacking, which was 12.1%, a decline of 378 cases. 

Cash-in-transit heists also decreased by 38.9%. 

Truck hijackings decreased by 4%, recording 12 less cases when compared with the same period last year.

Robbery with aggravating circumstances have gone up 1.5%, which translates to 203 cases more than the same period last year.

This is due to the rise in robberies at residential premises and robberies at business premises, which surged by 13.7% and 1.8% respectively.

Kidnappings increased by 8.3% from 1909 to 2068 cases. Mawela said there are even new trends of kidnappings, where victims are kidnapped just for criminals to force them to withdraw cash from their accounts and release them afterwards. 

Police were able to recover 1,036 stolen and hijacked vehicles and 120 vehicles used in the commission of crime. 

“The only category of crime where we are happy to see an increase is the category of crimes heavily dependent on police for detection. The increase reflects our visibility on the ground as well as the positive impact of our disruptive operations in search of firearms and drugs. This category has recorded an increase by 13.4%, which translates into an increase of 1,927 counts more than the same period last year,” Mawela said. 

Police confiscated 162-million litres of alcohol and closed 1,498 unlicensed liquor outlets, 46 licensed liquor outlets for noncompliance with the Liquor Act. 

Detectives in Gauteng finalised 125 cases in court with 159 accused sentenced to a combined 19 life imprisonment terms with an additional 1,518 years’ in prison. 

TimesLIVE

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