Looking back at 2017 crime stats

JOHANNESBURG - Last year, former Police Minister Fikile Mbalula vowed to crack the whip on criminals who run riot, and police officers who don't act to reign them in.

Looking back at the previous year's crime statistics, leadership was in the spotlight.

READ: SAPU warns police commissioner over patronage appointments

Mbalula likened himself to a new broom, planning to sweep clean in a police service that is seemingly failing citizens.

"I acknowledge our people live under siege from crime," he said.

"We must ask whether we've accepted to live side by side with violent criminals who literally emote terror across our nation." 

READ: Stats SA figures show decline in crime, increased fear

Statistics showed while overall reports of crime were down, serious violent crimes like murder, attempted murder and aggravated robbery rose. 

Mbalula said police officials needed to up their game.

Questions were raised about the stability of the police station as commissioners were often replaced.

According to analysts at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), inappropriate political interference in the police service was the largest problem facing the SAPS.

"The National Development Plan has identified the serial crisis of top management as a fundamental problem in policing in South Africa," Gareth Newham, head of the Justice and Violence Prevention Unit said.

Once someone was appointed, they restructured the top echelons and people in the rest of the police department were unable to execute their duties properly.