POLOKWANE: The Provincial Commissioner of the South African Police Service in Limpopo, Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe, joined by the MEC for Transport and Community Safety Ms Florence Radzilani
and SAPS management released the third quarter crime statistics for the financial year 2023/2024 at the Landbank Building 2nd floor Boardroom in Polokwane on Tuesday 27 February 2024 at about 11:00.

The main objective of sharing the crime statistics is to inform the public, law enforcement agencies, and other stakeholders about the current state of criminal activities in the province and detail the efforts towards mitigating these challenges. Detailing the objective the Provincial Commissioner pointed out that this crime statistics culminate from the national crime statistics released by the Minister of Police and the National Commissioner of the South African Police Service in Pretoria on the 16th of the current month. She indicated that this statistics were meant to show how the Province of Limpopo contributed to the global picture of crime in the country for the period October 1st – December 31st, 2023, in comparison with data from the corresponding period of the previous financial year. 

In attendance were also the Head of the Departmebt of Transport and Community Safety, Mr Steve Matjena, the Chief Director of the Civilian Secretariat for Police, Ms Ntlane Mthimkhulu, the Deputy Provincial Commissioners, the District Commissioners; the Provincial Heads, senior members, union representatives from POPCRU and SAPU, and the Chairperson of the CPF, Mr Frans Kgasago. 

The Provincial Commissioner reiterated that there is still challenges in escalation of murder cases, as opposed to the comparable period of statistics last financial year. What is more concerning is the mob justice related incidents which were reported . 
Reflecting on the impact of high density operation Vala Umgofi , she showed that the province also dealt with 88 cases of illegal mining and detained 220 suspects involved in illicit mining activities, as well as immigration violations. Among these suspects, there were a total number of 190 foreign nationals, and 45 South Africans.  44 illegal immigrants were deported. 

The provincial commissioner said that Operation Vala Umgodi’s effectiveness in dismantling illicit operations and preventing further environmental degradation is exemplified by the confiscation of mining equipment, among others, TLBs, generators, and jackhammers, whose value amounts to R20 962 564. 

Operation Kukula and various operations conducted across the Province resulted in 28,946 suspects being apprehended and detained. 
The arrests include, among others: 196 suspects of murder, 83 for attempted murder. 193 for robbery, 237 for rape, 46 for sexual assault,  63 for robbery aggravating, 7 for car jacking, 29 for house robbery, 91 for business robbery, 2272 for assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm (GBH), and 1560 for common assault.
Meanwhile, a total of 97382 grams of drugs were confiscated,  969 electronic devices confiscated, seizure of explosives amounting to 8026 units that comprise 8009 fireworks and two commercial explosives and recovered 123 stolen or robbed motor vehicles.

Additionally, strategies were implemented to combat illicit cigarettes and drugs, resulting in the seizure of drugs worth six million rands and illicit cigarettes valued at R3500,000 during the period under review. This notable achievement is commendable to all the organized crime teams that participated in this noble operation for their bravery and unwavering support we received from the communities, who are tired of the exploitation of our economy as well as the negative impact drugs are having on the young and old citizens of our province.

” I convey my profound gratitude for the exceptional work carried out by our members in promptly apprehending five suspects implicated in the tragic murder of Dr. Malekutu Johannes Mehlape from the Department of Education, who was fatally shot at his residence ,Mankweng on December 28th, 2023. This odious act that claimed his life had a deep-seated impact on our community however, thanks to the unwavering efforts of our members, finally justice will be served as we prepare a watertight case against the  perpetrators.” Remarked General Hadebe. 
She also noted a raise in sexual assault cases, I am encouraged by reductions observed across various categories, to the extent that the sexual offenses category decreased.
She further applauded the improvement made by Thohoyandou Police Station by moving from one spot lower in the top 30 stations nationally, while Seshego and Mankweng are still lingering in the list.

She noticed a decrease in the number of victims of GBV over the age of 18. “We are more concerned about the raise in the number of GBV cases against children under the age of 17. As we move forward with our strategies to curb GBV, we are working towards revising the GBV plan and engaging with other stakeholders to improve our capabilities, closely monitor, and also improve the working environment of the FCS unit to better deal with the scourge of GBV in the Province”.
MEC Radzilani expressed her satisfaction with how the police conducted their investigations into the murder cases and how they managed to quell and suppress possible community unrest throughout the Province.

She has also noted the decline in sexual offenses and encouraged communities to take an active part in the fight against gender-based violence and femicide.
In conclusion, MEC Radzilani indicated that the extensive hours of the alcohol trade remain a cause for concern in the fight against crime. Most of the murder and attempted murder cases were recorded at liquor outlets, during the period under review.  Therefore, it is for this reason that the Limpopo Provincial Government will continue its crusade to amend the Limpopo Liquor Act, and ensure that it is in-tandem with our attempts to normalize our crime levels.

Deputy Provincial Commissioner Major General Scheepers, during the vote of thanks, acknowledged MEC’s continued support, Provincial Commissioner’s leadership, and all the audience. 

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