South Africa’s law enforcement agencies are integrating technology, including drones, to combat crime in the country.

According to the latest statistics from the South African Police Service (SAPS), more than 6,200 people were murdered between January and March 2023—an average of about 70 murders a day. In the same time period, 10,500 cases of rape were also recorded, an average of 116 cases a day. 

With such high figures being recorded while other preventive measures not having the most effects in curbing crime, the SAPS seem to be willing to embrace technology as a solution.

Speaking at the presentation of the crime statistics, minister of police Bheki Cele stated that law enforcement would henceforth be incorporating numerous technologies to tackle the problem of crime in South Africa. Among the technologies touted by Cele include the use of drones as well as the use of highly specialised teams “who will be trained further at provincial and district level, to effectively track and apprehend offenders”.

“The SAPS is also purchasing unmanned aerial vehicles or so-called drones to better police from the sky. More drone pilots are also being licensed and drone pilot interns are being recruited. Body-worn cameras as well as shot spotters in high-density crime areas are being prioritised,” said Cele.

Last week, the Gauteng Department of e-Government stated that it would allocate a budget of R1.7 billion (~$86 million) to various “e-policing” initiatives including CCTV deployment, drones, and “tracking technology to keep tabs on vehicles, firearms, and other assets used to fight crime to enhance oversight over its strategic assets”.

Additionally, the department will also seek to introduce an “e-panic button” which would be linked to law enforcement agencies, CCTV, and a new state-of-the-art Integrated Command Centre in hopes to vastly improve response time to criminal complaints.

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