February 16, 2024

South African murder rate rises ahead of election battle

South African murder rate rises ahead of election battle


South Africa recorded almost 84 murders daily between October and December, a two-percent increase over the same period in 2022, according to police statistics released Friday.

The figures could embarrass the ruling ANC, which has governed the country for 30 years since the advent of democracy and faces a tough election later this year.

Illegal immigration and rampant crime have become key political issues ahead of the general election, with opposition parties pointing to the government’s perceived failure.

South Africa has one of the highest peacetime per capita homicide rates in the world.

Police minister Bheki Cele told a press conference in Pretoria that 7,710 people were murdered in the last quarter of 2023.

“It is disturbing and concerning that the number of people murdered during this period, increased by 2.1 percent… as compared to the same period” a year earlier, said Cele, who is under fire over rampant crime.

Rapes, in a country notorious for sex attacks against women and children, declined slightly by 1.7 percent, compared to the same three-month period the year before.

The crime-ridden township of Inanda, located 29 kilometres (18 miles) north of the coastal city of Durban, has become known as the country’s rape capital but recorded 20 fewer counts over the quarter.

“What is still worrying and of great concern is that the majority of the rapes were committed at victims’ residences,” Cele said.

“The perpetrators were either neighbours, friends or family members.”

Police arrested 1,258 illegal miners during the last three months of 2023.

Thousands of unlicensed miners operate in the mineral-rich country. Their activities frustrate mining companies and are seen as a source of criminality by local residents.

Crime statistics — which are presented every quarter in a live broadcast — had been steadily rising over the past few months.

Eleven fewer cash-in-transit heists took place compared to the previous crime reporting period.

“Kidnappings for ransom have become a lucrative commodity for organised crime in South Africa,” the minister warned, insisting the police would continue to fight the scourge.