How bad was it? Makhanda crime in numbers


Among 191 stations and across 18 crime classifications, Makhanda appears in the top 30 eleven times in the South African Police Service’s third-quarter crime report. Alarming figures for the violent crimes of rape and assault emerge in the town, along with an average of around 30 residential burglaries a month.

Provincial Commissioner Lt-Gen Liziwe Ntshinga and the MEC for Transport, Safety and Liaison, Weziwe Tikana, released the Eastern Cape crime statistics for the third quarter at Cala on Friday 26 February 2021. The crime reporting periods follow the financial year, so Quarter 1 is April to June, Q2 is July to September, October to December is Q3 and January to March Q4.

The Q3 crime statistics correspond with the easing of disaster regulations to Level 1. South Africa moved to Alert Level 1 lockdown regulations on Wednesday 16 September and returned to Level 3 on 29 December 2020.

Makhanda (Grahamstown and Joza Police Stations combined) statistics for some crimes the third quarter (October, November, December) compared over five years. Graphic: Simon Pamphilon

In looking at the latest crime stats, we have at times combined the statistics for Grahamstown and Joza police stations, naming the combined figure Makhanda. Other area names refer to the police stations (usually the same name as the town it’s in).

Second, for perspective, we’ve chosen to compare crime in Makhanda to crime in neighbouring towns. The graphic ‘One town away’ uses the figures to paint an impression of what crimes are dominant in Makhanda itself, and one town away in each direction.

In some cases, higher figures are simply because of a bigger population. Better reporting and more active policing may also be a factor. What we’ve highlighted here are numbers that stand out – either because they are high, or because they seem disproportionately high for that town.

The South African Police Service Crime Report, which you can find HERE explains how it breaks down the 18 crimes. Seventeen fall under community reported crimes, with the subcategories of Contact Crime, Contact related, Property related and Other Serious. The 18th category is CDPA – Crimes Dependent on Police Action for Detection. These are offences related to illegal firearms, , drugs, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and sexual offences detected as a result of police action.

An impression of dominant crimes in Makhanda and the next town in each direction, based on Q3 crime stats for the Eastern Cape. Graphic: SmilingSouth/ Sue Maclennan

Makhanda’s two police stations recorded a combined 35 cases of rape from October to December 2020. Alice was next highest at 13 and 10 in Fort Beaufort. These police stations also recorded the highest numbers of Assault GBH in this area (134 in Makhanda, 66 in Alice and, the small town of Fort Beaufort, 89).

With four cases in three months, the Grahamstown police precinct is in the Eastern Cape’s top 30 stations for sexual assault. Port Alfred sits slightly higher up in the list, with five cases. East London reported the most cases, at 14.

Bedford, Nemato (Port Alfred’s township police station) and Alice are in the province’s top 30 for attempted sexual offences.

Out of 191 stations, Grahamstown was number 7 in the province for Common Assault with 85 cases. Joza, with exactly the same figure, was number 8 in the province.

Malicious damage to property was high in Makhanda, with 38 cases reported at Grahamstown. King William’s Town reported 41.

There were three cases of arson in Bathurst and two in Alice.

There were three kidnappings in Makhanda. Mthatha’s 8 kidnappings were the highest in the province. One case of abduction was reported in Alicedale.

Grahamstown recorded 13 robberies at residential premises (ninth-most in the province) and there were 6 in Alice.

King William’s Town is third in the province with Robberies at non-residential premises, with 17 cases in three months.

Grahamstown is number 7 out of 191 stations in the Eastern Cape when it comes to Burglary at residential premises, with 92 recorded in the three-month period. It follows Cambridge in East London (162), Mthatha (159), Kabega Park (141), Walmer (120), Mount Road (85) and Lusikisiki (73). Alice (51) and Port Alfred (46) are also in the top 30.

There were 31 burglaries at non-residential premises reported at Grahamstown. Mount Road, in Gqeberha Port Elizabeth, had the most, at 94.

Grahamstown does not feature in the top 30 for theft of motor vehicle or motorcycle. But in theft out of motor vehicle, there were 54 cases and in Fort Beaufort, 16 in three months.

Makhanda (that’s Grahamstown plus Joza) misses top 30 for stock theft but makes the top 10 for property related crime with 176 cases. Alice is also in the top 30 at 107.

Grahamstown is at number 11 in All theft not mentioned elsewhere (117 cases).

The station had 56 cases of commercial crime reported making it number 11 in the province in that category. Alice had 30, Fort Beaufort 21.

Makhanda had the seventh-most cases of shoplifting (30) and there were 10 in Port Alfred.

Under Other serious crime, Makhanda records 189 and Alice 89.

There are no car-jacking cases reported in Makhanda, but in King William’s Town there were three in three months, and there was one case of truck hijacking in Alice.

There were 23 trio crimes in King William’s Town. SAPS and the National Prosecuting Authority refer to residential robbery, car hijacking and business robbery as Trio Crimes.

Fort Brown whose rural population was counted at 25 668 in 2011, reported very little crime: 1 Assault GBH, 1 Malicious damage to property, 1 Burglary residential, 1 Stock theft, 1 commercial crime.

Also within the Makana municipal area, Riebeeck East reported 1 murder, 1 rape, 2 common assault, and 1 residential burglary. Sevenfountains reported 1 murder, 2 rapes, 4 common assault, and 3 assault GBH.

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