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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 July 2007, 19:38 GMT 20:38 UK
SA violent crime 'unacceptable'
South African police
South Africa plans to recruit 30,000 extra police officers
Cases of serious and violent crime in South Africa are unacceptably high, the country's Safety and Security Minister, Charles Nqakula, has said.

Mr Nqakula said there was concern such crime continued to be rife after annual statistics showed a rise in the number of murders and aggravated robberies.

Nevertheless, the minister noted overall crime rates were falling.

The South African government is under pressure to tackle crime as it prepares to host the 2010 football World Cup.

In February, President Thabo Mbeki admitted that many South Africans were living in fear of being murdered, raped or assaulted by criminals, and promised an increase in police numbers.

Mr Mbeki's acknowledgement that violent crime was a serious problem came as a surprise to many critics.

Extra police

The statistics published by the South African Police Service (SAPS) showed there were 19,202 murders between 1 April 2006 and 31 March 2007, an increase of 2.4%.

More than 100 members of the police were killed while on duty.

The police [officer], who is in the street and sees a man entering his home, will not know that that man is in a fit of rage and will visit injury on his wife, his children, and then commit suicide
Charles Nqakula

The number of bank robberies more than doubled and there were also an increase in the number of burglaries and car hijackings.

However, there was a significant fall in the number of rapes and common robberies.

Speaking after the publication of the report, Mr Nqakula said the government had set itself a target of reducing serious and violent crime by at least seven percent.

However, he said there had been only a three percent drop overall in the past year.

"The fact that instances of serious and violent crime are very high is disconcerting and unacceptable," he said.

Mr Nqakula said the high murder rate was a result of the fact that in most cases the attacker is known to the victim.

"The police [officer], who is in the street and sees a man entering his home, will not know that that man is in a fit of rage and will visit injury on his wife, his children, and then commit suicide," he said.

"Therefore, it means we have to rely on more than just policing to deal with those matters."

South Africa's National Police Commissioner, Jackie Selebi, said he was confident his country's hosting of the 2010 World Cup would not be adversely affected.

Mr Selebi said an extra 30,000 police would be recruited.

In the meantime, the SAPS will undergo a major restructuring and experienced personnel will be deployed to police stations in areas where crime is at its worst.


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