The police’s head of crime research and statistics, Major General Norman Sekhukhune, said this when the South African Police Service released the Crime Statistics for the 2017/18 financial year in Parliament on Tuesday.
Gender-based violence, as well as violence against children, has come under the spotlight recently with protests being staged across the country calling for an end to the scourge.
Just last month, Deputy Police Minister Bongani Mkongi struggled to hold back tears when he visited the family of two-year-old Oyingcwele Zokufa, who was found in a shallow grave along the N2 freeway in Cape Town. His body was discovered days after he had been abducted from his home.
On Tuesday, Sekhukhune told Members of Parliament that when one brings together the statistics of women and children that fall victim to murder, over 3 000 cases were reported over the year under review.
“When looking at the murder of women and children, what we [have] realised is that murders of boys, girls and women have increased. Girls have increased by 29, boys by 117 and women by 291,” he said.
Presenting raw data from the crime statistics, Sekhukhune said 2 930 women were murdered in the current financial year – up by 11% when compared to the 2 639 women who were murdered over the previous financial year.
The number of boys who were victims of murder increased from 574 to 691 in the period under review – which is an increase of 20.4%.
He said 294 girls were killed. This is an increase of 10.9% when compared to the previous figure of 265.
“The overall percentage contribution was 19.3% of the murders, or 3 915 of the murders that we have recorded whereby a woman or child was murdered,” Sekhukhune said.
Crime against women
On other crimes committed against women, Sekhukhune said the total number of sexual offences committed against them was 36 731 cases during the year under review, which is a drop of -1.7%.
He said 226, or 67%, more cases of attempted murder were reported, while the rate of assault with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm went up by 2.5%, from 51 956 in 2016/ 17 to 53 263 in 2017/18.
Crimes against children
Sekhukhune said sexual offences against children dropped by -4.8%, from 24 677 to 23 488.
Cases of attempted murder increased by 123, or 13.1%, to 1 059 cases, while cases of assault with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm dropped by -0.3%.