The Inkatha Freedom Party in KwaZulu-Natal takes a very grim view of the crime statistics that were announced yesterday.

“We are not at all surprised at the rise in serious and violent crime in our province as there were 3 810 murders between 2014/2015. While we analyse these statistics, we must keep in mind that these figures represent only reported cases of criminal activity. We are aware that there are numerous cases that go unreported either because of the nature of the crime or the fact that most communities have lost faith in the police. The escalation in contact crimes such as murder, house breakings, robberies and assault have been of serious concern to the IFP for some time now and we have been raising our concerns with the MEC for Community Safety & Liaison, Willies Mchunu in the legislature as well as in the portfolio committee. These crime stats should not come as a surprise to those in government or to the citizens of our province,” said IFP Spokesperson on Community Safety and Liaison, Mr Blessed Gwala, MPL.

“Ordinary citizens face the full brunt of criminal activity on a daily basis. What must be of serious concern to us is that this government appears incapable of stemming the tide of violent crime. The situation is made worse by the fact that morale amongst police personnel is at an all-time low due to factors such as weak leadership, police killings, lack of resources and corruption among the ranks.The rise in the number of violent service delivery protests places added strain on police resources and requires interdepartmental co-operation,” continued Mr Gwala.

“We are extremely concerned that the past year has seen an increase in the number of illegal firearms being used in violent crime. We believe that there should be tougher penalties for the illegal possession of guns. We recommend that the state and police forces should conduct an urgent audit of their firearms data holdings and we urge government to consider more measures to deal with illegal guns,” concluded Mr Gwala.