Domestic Violence Incidents Decrease In South Africa

The COVID-19 lockdown has seen domestic violence-related crimes decrease significantly since the introduction of the National State of Disaster regulations.

These are crimes related to – but not limited to – murder, attempted murder, rape and sexual assault.

This much was on Wednesday revealed by Police Minister Bheki Cele during a visit to KwaZulu-Natal to assess adherence to the National State of Disaster regulations gazetted last month.


The regulations were introduced by the government in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus, which to-date has affected over 3 400 people and claimed at least 58 lives in the country.

With just over a week remaining in the extended lockdown, Cele has expressed satisfaction at inroads made by law enforcement agencies across the country.

During this period, security forces have been patrolling the streets and conducted raids that have seen illegal liquor outlets shut down.

“Due to the lockdown, the heightened visibility, reinforced by the deployment of the SANDF [South African National Defence Force] and other variables such as the prohibition of the sale of liquor, we have seen a significant drop across most crime categories,” said Cele.

The Minister said law enforcement will give a comprehensive crime picture after the lockdown.

“At this stage, we have compared crime for the period 27 March 2020 to 20 April 2020, to the same period in 2019. We welcome the decrease in especially contact crime and trio crimes – both crime categories that are known to instil fear and terror amongst our citizens.”

The South African Police Service (SAPS), along with the SANDF, Provincial Traffic and Metro Police Departments, as well as other law enforcement agencies, have during this time, been enforcing regulations.

“I have extended a word of appreciation to all the members on deployment during this lockdown, for their unwavering commitment and resilience in support of government’s efforts to combat the COVID-19 global pandemic,” he said.

Cele said authorities have in this period, conducted over 190 roadblocks, which have been set-up daily across the country. In addition, 681 vehicle checkpoints mounted have been mounted.

Comparing crime trends between 29 March- 22 April 2019; and 27 March – 20 April 2020, results show crime had plummeted by 69.4%.

During this period, domestic-related crimes dropped from 9 990 cases between 29 March and 22 April last year, to 3 061 since the start of the lockdown until 20 April 2020. This is a difference of 6 929.

 South Africa entered an initial 21-day nationwide lockdown announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa last month. The lockdown which is aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 has been extended by a further two weeks until the end of April.

“What has been most concerning is the fact that in most of these domestic violence incidents, the perpetrators are well known to the victims – spouses, partners, close relatives,” he said.

In four of the incidents during the lockdown, the boyfriends were allegedly killed by their girlfriends and in two of these incidents, the murder was a result of an argument over liquor.

Said Cele: “In one incident the boyfriend refused to go out to buy liquor and in the other incident, the couple was under the influence of alcohol.”

“In relation to contraventions of the lockdown regulations, by the end if the initial 21 days, we were on almost 107 000 cases opened and over 118 000 people charged.”

The cases include:

– Liquor related offences

– Illegal gatherings

– Failure to confine to place of residence

– Cross border movement

– Business-related

– Transport related

– Misrepresentation of statement to deceive

From those arrested, 42 388 are before different courts across the country, while the rest have either been granted bail, issued with fines, or released with a warning to appear before court.


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