Nyanga murder capital crime

The streets of Nyanga are safer than they were just a few months ago – Photo: E+Co / Flickr

A true success story: How did SA’s ‘murder capital’ SLASH its crime rate?

This part of Cape Town used to be known as the most dangerous place in South Africa – but things are now changing for the better…

Nyanga murder capital crime

The streets of Nyanga are safer than they were just a few months ago – Photo: E+Co / Flickr

Read any article about Nyanga in the last five years or so, and it’s likely you’ll be confronted by something grim. The township based on the outskirts of Cape Town has been besieged by crime and lawless behaviour in its recent past – but things now seem to be changing.

From SA’s crime capital to its latest success story – how did Nyanga do it?

Nyanga has frequently been referred to as the ‘murder capital’ of South Africa, due to its abnormally high homicide rates. For years, this region topped the worst imaginable tables, also earning it the broader ‘crime capital’ title.

But in the last six months, the dishonourable distinction has been shed. In the previous two quarters featured in the SAPS Crime Stats, the murder rate in Nyanga has dropped by 12% and 24% respectively. And the good news doesn’t end there.

The most recent statistics also show significant drops in figures for robbery, carjacking, sexual assaults, and contact crimes. So, what exactly is behind this turnaround? The local authorities pin it on these SIX factors:

  • The DA say the decrease in crime due to the ‘devolved powers’ they’ve been given, to conduct their own policing strategies.
  • That includes the deployment of 1 100 more law enforcement officials, who have ‘eased the pressure’ on SAPS.
  • However, a lot of credit must go to local SAPS teams, who have worked tirelessly to build strong relations with community groups.
  • Improved resources for Neighbourhood Watch teams have had ‘a significant impact’.
  • The Law Enforcement Advancement Plan’s (LEAP) Reaction Unit has been extremely pro-active, searching over 22 000 people.
  • LEAP’s Reaction Unit has also been able to execute 260 arrests since its formation.

DA welcomes encouraging signs – but there’s room for improvement

With a more pro-active police force carrying out targeted action plans in Nyanga, it’s no wonder this turnaround is being hailed as a significant success story. DA Shadow Minister of Police, Andrew Whitfield, still wants more cops in the area.

Though Nyanga is heading in the right direction, the township still features in some of the top 30 national hot-spots for various crimes. Indeed, despite a plummeting murder rate, it’s still the 15th-highest in SA.

Whitfield now wants police to be given ‘even more localised powers’:

“The Nyanga success story proves that there is a solution to the issue of safety on the table that can be replicated and rolled out across South Africa, making it safer for all citizens. We still need the authority to do more.”

“The evidence also overwhelmingly shows that policing competencies must be devolved to competent local and provincial governments, who have the political will and capabilities to ensure that we build on these successes and do even more to make our communities safer.”

Andrew Whitfield