South Africa's Murder Rate Increases By 4.9%

Pretoria – The official Crime Statistics released on Friday by the police show that South Africa’s murder rate has increased by 4.9%.

The police released the statistics in Parliament.

In the 2015/16 financial year, the number of murder cases stood at 18 673, while the figure was 17 805 in 2014/15.

Murder increased by 9.9% in the Eastern Cape, with 3 649 murders in 2015/16 compared to 3 321 in 2014/15.

The Northern Cape was the only province that reduced its murder rate by 9.9% from 413 in 2014/15 to 372 in 2015/16.

The murder rate was also up in the Free State by 5.3% with 993 murders in the 2015/16 financial year.

Gauteng’s murder rate is up by 4.7% from 3 671 murders in 2014/15 to 3 842 in the 2015/16 financial year. KwaZulu-Natal was up by 3.1% to 3 929, while Limpopo was up by 15.6% from 777 to 898.

Mpumalanga’s murder rate was up by 3.4% from 831 to 859 in the 2015/16 financial year.

North West saw a 6.3% increase in the murder rate to 907, while the murder rate in the Western Cape was up by 1.2%.

Analysis conducted by the provinces showed that murders associated with taxi-related violence recorded 190 counts and contributed to the increase of murder numbers.

“Gauteng recorded the highest number of incidents (40%) and 0.4% of the overall murder figures, followed by KwaZulu-Natal (38.9%),” noted the statistics.

Route disputes, internal power struggles with taxi associations and revenge attacks in which hitmen were specifically hired to eliminate the victims were the motives leading to murders associated with taxi related violence.

Among the contributors to the murder rate was conflict among illegal miners (zama zamas) in the Free State (accounting for 0.1% of the overall national murder figure and 2.5% of murders in this province), Gauteng (accounting for 0.2% of the national and 0.8% of the province’s murder figure) and North West (accounting for 0.1% of the national and 1.2% of the provinces figure).

The conflict among illegal miners in the three provinces contributed 0.4% to the national murder figures.

In the Western Cape, gang violence was found to be a direct generator of murders (accounting for 2.3% of the national murder counts and 13.4% of those in the province) and the Eastern Cape (accounting for 0.6% of the national murder counts and 3.1% of the murders in this province).

National murder study

According to the national murder study of 2015/16, the causative factors leading to murder could be clearly established in only 59.3% (or 1 727) of the analysed cases.

Among the 1 727 cases, 58.9% of the murders resulted from social behaviour (mostly argument or misunderstanding).

In a further 27.4% of the cases, the murder resulted from criminal behaviour such as robberies at residential and business premises and car jackings.

A further 9.9% of the cases could be linked to mob justice.

More than 26.9% of the arrested offenders had previous convictions, ranging from assault, theft, drug-related crime to burglary at residential premises.

According to the study, a total 60.9% of the known offenders had been unemployed when the crimes were committed.

Knives, firearms and other sharp instruments were the most prominent murder weapons used.

The Western Cape recorded the lowest increase in the incidence of murder among other provinces. However, it still ranked the fourth highest contributor to the total number of murder counts reported in the country.

Attempted murder

According to the 2015/16 statistics, attempted murder increased by 3.4%.

In the 2015/16 financial year, the generators of attempted murder greatly correspond with those associated with murder.

The statistics showed that attempted murders were more frequently committed with firearms.

Alcohol abuse played a role in 73% of attempted murder cases reported in Mpumalanga between April and December 2015.

Briefing the media, Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko said the “extreme levels of bingeing on alcohol” is of concern.

Of the attempted murder incidents, 13.5% were identified as having occurred at bars, pubs or shebeens.

In Gauteng, only 7.5% of cases could be linked to the consumption of alcohol on the basis of information recorded in the dockets.

In incidents in the North West, 9.1% of attempted murder cases occurred at drinking places where patrons became involved in arguments and fights after consuming alcohol.

Attempted murder incidents increased by 12% in the Eastern Cape, while it increased by 8.9% in Gauteng.