Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa will release South Africa's 2012/13 national crime statistics on 19 September 2013. This factsheet, produced by Africa Check in cooperation with the Institute for Security Studies, explains how to unpick the numbers. By Nechama Brodie for AFRICA CHECK.
A Timeline of Crime Statistics
National crime statistics for South Africa have been provided since 1994, in line with the broad objectives of the National Crime Prevention Strategy, formally adopted in 1996, which prioritised the "gathering [of] reliable crime information" together with the parallel development of an "effective communications strategy" based on such information, which would "properly [inform] public opinion in the fight against crime".
Before 2000, crime statistics were released for the periods of January to September each year. In July 2000, then-police minister Steve Tshwete controversially suspended the publication of crime statistics, only lifting the moratorium the following year.
Although Tshwete initially indicated statistics would be published quarterly, the South African Police Services (SAPS) have only released crime statistics on an annual basis (the actual reporting periods have varied over time).
Crime statistics are now released each September, and cover crimes reported to the SAPS in the previous financial year (i.e. 01 April of the previous...