Crime stats indicate ‘alcohol has a direct impact on certain crimes’November 24, 2022
The increase in the recent crime statistics is a clear indication liquor has a direct and large impact on certain crimes, the portfolio committee on police said.
Following a crescendo of calls for government to implement stricter alcohol regulations similar to the Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Control Bill, chair of the committee Tina Joemat-Pettersson, said the overall increase was an extreme concern.
“It is very clear liquor is having a direct and large impact on rape and grievous bodily harm (GBH), the escalation of an altercation from common assault to serious assault,” she said.
Police Minister Bheki Cele said the crime figures showed aggression and violence were at worrying levels in South Africa.
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According to the police’s presentation to the committee, there were 7 004 murders, an increase of 841 (13.6%) compared to the previous quarter.
Arguments, misunderstanding, road rage and provocation were the leading causative factors for murder, accounting for 956 killings.
This was followed by vigilantism and mob justice with 528 murders and robbery (362) and retaliation (348).
Prof Charles Parry, director of the alcohol, tobacco and other drug research unit at the South African Medical Research, has previously said SA was lagging behind on alcohol regulation policies.
However, alcohol caused much greater harm than tobacco, he claimed.
Parry said it was a lot easier to address tobacco because there was much more of a consensus tobacco was harmful, “whereas with alcohol, there’s a lot of industry pressure”.
“I think there’s a lot of confusion about the harms of alcohol and we’re a country that we’re a wine producing country, we export a lot of alcohol.
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“None of the politicians at the moment – none of the ministers really – are committed to address alcohol in the same way.”
Independent crime researcher David Bruce said chronic violence and crime showed society is “criminogenic” – meaning social conditions were conducive to high levels of offending.