SA records a 11.5% increase in murder rate

Friday, August 19, 2022

Police Minister Bheki Cele has expressed concern at the country’s alarmingly high murder rates.

Releasing the quarter one (Q1) crime statistics for the 2022/23 financial year, the Minister said the number of murders in South Africa remains “high and worrisome”.

Between April and June this year, 6 424 people were killed by other persons in South Africa the statistics reveal.  

He said: “This is an increase of 664 more people murdered, compared to the same period last year, when the country was placed under COVID-19 Lockdown level one and two”.

The Minister highlighted the main causes of murder namely, arguments and misunderstandings, while retaliations and revenge murders were a second motive for murder. Vigilantism was the third most likely cause of murder in South Africa.

Cele said the uMlazi, Plessislaer police stations in KwaZulu-Natal and uMthatha station in the Eastern Cape registered the highest murder cases during this period, with 221 murder cases reported in the three areas combined.

He said the Police Ministry and South African Police Service (SAPS) management recently met with Umlazi policing structures, traditional and religious leaders, business and the youth in an effort to tighten policing in the area.

“It is during this engagement that the improvement of police response time and shortage of vehicles and how environmental design impeded policing was raised sharply and is being urgently addressed at national, provincial and local government level.

“The multi-stakeholder approach and working closely with the community in the Umlazi policing area, should have an impact on violent crime if sustained and maintained as agreed,” he said at a briefing on Friday.

Police killings

Alarmingly, 18 police officers were killed during this period. This was 13 less police officers killed during this reporting period.

The Minister said any attack on police officers is an attack on the state and should be condemned from all quarters.

Provincial breakdown

Of the 6 424 people killed during this period, 2 766 people were shot to death. From these, 912 were gunned down in KwaZulu-Natal.

Gauteng followed, with 697 deaths attributed to firearms. The Western Cape was next, with 498 people dying from gunshot wounds.

“The expansion of illegal firearms and the damage and destruction they can cause, is well documented. These crime statistics should be used as a management tool to guide the operational plans to deal with amongst other crimes, the proliferation of firearms.

“Police operational responses nationwide, should continue to remove guns that are in the wrong hands,” said Minister Cele.

Multiple murders

Over the three months, he said the SAPS investigated 284 dockets of multiple murders, with 664 victims.

Between April and June, KZN recorded the highest number of multiple murders, followed by Gauteng and the Eastern Cape in which two or more victims, were killed at a time.

He said the majority of these murders were committed with a firearm.

Addressing provincial Commissioners, Cele said: “While more work needs to be done, it is encouraging that arrests are being made in this regard”.

The Western Cape made inroads in arresting a man who is believed to be the mastermind behind the extortion related multiple-murders in areas around the Cape Metropole.

“More suspects have also been arrested and are going through the court processes, answering to their alleged roles related to the multiple murders.”

Women and children

Cele expressed concern at the “alarmingly high” and “unacceptable” murder rates of women and children.

“All communities must join hands in having a zero-tolerance approach when it comes to crimes committed against women and children. The reporting period of April to June shows that South Africa was a brutal and dangerous for women and children,” he said.

From April to June 2022, 855 women and 243 children were killed in the country.

Over 11 000 assault grievous bodily harm (GBH) cases, with female victims, were opened with the police. Cases involving children totalled 1 670.

“Police are investigating attempted murder dockets for over 1400 women and children who escaped death,” he said. 

He said it was “disturbingly worrying” that 19 child murders took place at institutions of learning.

This includes day-care facilities primary and high schools, tertiary institutions. –