Police minister Bheki Cele has published the latest crime statistics for South Africa, showing another jump in the number of murders recorded in the country.
For the period 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020, the SAPS recorded 21,325 murders in the country, up 1.4% from the year before.
This averages out to 58.4 murders each day, at a rate of 35.8 murders per 100,000 people based on the latest population estimates.
KZN saw the biggest annual jump in cases (464 murders), followed by Gauteng (60 murders), and Mpumalanga (50 murders).
Notably, in 1,430 murder cases, the perpetrator was confirmed to be under the influence of alcohol.
The SAPS cited three main causes:
- Criminal behaviour, where murders happen as a result of other crimes and criminal activity;
- Group behaviour, where gangs murder each other, taxi violence erupts, or mobs seek out vigilante justice; and
- Social behaviour, where social ills (alcohol and drug abuse), dysfunctional relationships, unemployment and other problems lead to deaths.
According to the SAPS, the most common cause of murder in South Africa is an argument or misunderstanding. This is followed by domestic-related incidents and then mob justice. Other notable causes are murders during robberies, gang-related murders and then murders done in retaliation or for revenge.
The worst areas for murder in South Africa
Aligning with the population distribution in South Africa, most murders take place in the most populous provinces – Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal and the Eastern Cape.
Historically, the Western Cape has accounted for over a third of the most murderous areas. However, stations in KZN have reported a steady increase in murders in recent years.
Delft in the Western Cape was ranked as the area with the most murders in South Africa based on police station reports (265 murders), followed by Khayelitsha (251 murders).
Inanda was ranked as the most violent area in KwaZulu Natal, and Mthatha takes the top dishonour for the Eastern Cape.
In Gauteng, Moroka in Soweto was ranked as most violent, although it only appears 15th overall.