At least 9 393 undocumented foreign nationals were arrested in Gauteng between April and June this year.
Gauteng police commissioner, Elias Mawela, revealed this while presenting the province’s crime statistics on Tuesday at the Gauteng Legislature.
Mawela says the suspects are linked to illegal mining.
“The scores of arrests effected and confiscations of illegal mining tools of trade were mostly done when we followed up on information received from the various communities. For the period under review, we have arrested a total of 9 393 undocumented persons some of them are linked to illegal mining. The DPCI has also arrested 89 suspects from their 40 high level operations, the work is continuing.”
Authorities in the province have been cracking down on illegal mining for months, especially in the West of Johannesburg.
Earlier in August, the community of Riverlea took the streets after the area was at the centre of a deadly turf war between rival zama zama gangs, which claimed five lives.
Mawela says crime in general has increased by 4% in the first quarter of 2023.
This translates to 4 022 counts more as compared to the same period in 2022.
The provincial police commissioner says although the volumes of crime still remain high, they are steadily improving in reducing the scourge.
The authorities say they have implemented crime-fighting operations, such as O Kae Molao, which yielded results and have officially been rolled out nationally as Operation Shanela.
Gauteng has contributed 27.9% to overall crime statistics nationally for the first quarter of 2023/2024.
Mawela says they also have other crime combating initiatives, which aim to close the gap between the police and the communities of Gauteng.
The commissioner also revealed that contact crimes increased by 6.0% during this period compared to the same period last year.
He says common assault and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm (GBH) still the main contributors to the province’s overall contact crime and 13 214 suspects have so far been arrested.
“For the quarter under review these two offences have increased by 11.3% and 7.8% respectively, with a combined 20 088 counts more.”
Murder incidents have in turn decreased.
A total of 1 489 people, including 167 women and 47 children, were killed during the first quarter. Arguments, robberies and vigilantism are some of the top contributing factors to the number of murders in Gauteng.
“Although the reduction is with a small margin, it is still important for us because every win counts.”
Mawela also revealed that the province experienced a spike in police killings between April and June, where 12 police officers lost their lives.
There was a 1.0% decrease in sexual offences for the first quarter of 2023.
Mawela says they are working to deal with these issues with various stakeholders.
“Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences and Social Crime Prevention supported by Corporate Communication and Liaison, working with other stakeholders are continuing to conduct focused crime awareness campaigns in an effort to reach out to all communities affected by the scourge of sexual offences.”
Bullying in Schools
Mawela also expressed concern over the increase of crime related incidents at Gauteng schools.
“We have seen how school learners are a target of gangsterism, drug dealers, and unsavoury older men looking for innocent young girls and boys. We have also seen how learners are killing one another, assaulting one another as well as their educators. Bullying at schools has moved to another level with the advent of social media.”
The commissioner said to combat this, the police have embarked on a school safety project.
“Through the assistance from several sponsors, we have donated sports gear and chess boards to six schools, with the aim of using sports to fight crime in schools.”
#sapsGP PC, Lt Gen Mawela, flanked by his Deputy Provincial Commissioners and District Commissioners present 1st Quarter #CrimeStats for the 2023/24 financial year to the Gauteng Legislature's Community Safety Portfolio Committee this morning.
The Community Safety Portfolio… pic.twitter.com/rpBZGU282E
— SA Police Service 🇿🇦 (@SAPoliceService) August 29, 2023
Written by: Nonhlanhla Harris