Crime Stats : South Africa's Horror Story

More women, children are victims of murder

The number of girls, boys and women who are being killed daily is on the increase.

The police’s head of crime research and statistics, Major General Norman Sekhukhune, said this when the South African Police Service released the Crime Statistics for the 2017/18 financial year in Parliament on Tuesday.

Gender-based violence, as well as violence against children, has come under the spotlight recently with protests being staged across the country calling for an end to the scourge.

Just last month, Deputy Police Minister Bongani Mkongi struggled to hold back tears when he visited the family of two-year-old Oyingcwele Zokufa, who was found in a shallow grave along the N2 freeway in Cape Town. His body was discovered days after he had been abducted from his home.

On Tuesday, Sekhukhune told Members of Parliament that when one brings together the statistics of women and children that fall victim to murder, over 3 000 cases were reported over the year under review.

“When looking at the murder of women and children, what we [have] realised is that murders of boys, girls and women have increased. Girls have increased by 29, boys by 117 and women by 291,” he said.

Presenting raw data from the crime statistics, Sekhukhune said 2 930 women were murdered in the current financial year – up by 11% when compared to the 2 639 women who were murdered over the previous financial year.

The number of boys who were victims of murder increased from 574 to 691 in the period under review – which is an increase of 20.4%.

He said 294 girls were killed. This is an increase of 10.9% when compared to the previous figure of 265.

“The overall percentage contribution was 19.3% of the murders, or 3 915 of the murders that we have recorded whereby a woman or child was murdered,” Sekhukhune said.

Crime against women

On other crimes committed against women, Sekhukhune said the total number of sexual offences committed against them was 36 731 cases during the year under review, which is a drop of -1.7%.

He said 226, or 67%, more cases of attempted murder were reported, while the rate of assault with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm went up by 2.5%, from 51 956 in 2016/ 17 to 53 263 in 2017/18.

Crimes against children

Sekhukhune said sexual offences against children dropped by -4.8%, from 24 677 to 23 488.

Cases of attempted murder increased by 123, or 13.1%, to 1 059 cases, while cases of assault with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm dropped by -0.3%.

Nyanga tops murder statistics

Nyanga township in the Western Cape still has the highest murder rate, while Johannesburg Central police station tops the list of the top 30 police stations when it comes to the number of contact crimes reported over the past year.

This is according to the annual crime statistics, which were presented to Members of Parliament on Tuesday.

Presenting a provincial analysis of contact crimes including murder, rape, attempted murder, assault with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm, common assault, common robbery, aggravated robbery and sexual assault, Major General Norman Sekhukhune, the police’s head of crime research and statistics, revealed the top 30 police stations where these crimes are mostly reported.

“The top police stations in terms of murder, the Western Cape had 10 stations in the top 30 police stations, followed by Gauteng with nine, then KwaZulu-Natal with six and Eastern Cape with five. These police stations contributed 4 124 murders to the national total…”

Sekhukhune said the top 30 police stations collectively contributed 20% to the national murder rate.

Murder per police station

A closer look at the crime stats reveals that 308 murders were reported at Nyanga police station alone, which is a 9.6% increase when compared to the previous financial year. The statistic puts Nyanga at the top of the list nationwide.

The rest of the stations in the Western Cape where the most murder cases were reported include Phillipi East (205), Delft (195), Khayelitsha (192), Kraaifontein (186), Gugulethu (182), Mfuleni (157), Harare (142) and Mitchells Plain (140).

In KwaZulu-Natal, some 223 cases were reported at Umlazi police station alone, which represented an increase of 19.3%.

Other stations in the province include Inanda (203), followed by KwaMashu East (123), Plessislaer (104), Mariannhill (96) and Mpumalanga KZN (90).

Eastern Cape had five police stations – Mthatha (160), Bethelsdorp (127), KwaZakhele (104), Lusikisiki (97) and Ngqeleni (90).

In Gauteng, Jeppe police station topped the list in the province with 125 murders, followed by Ivory Park (108), Kagiso (101), Hilbrow (98), Moroka and Thembisa (97), Orange Farm (95), Johannesburg Central (91) and Alexandra (90).

Contact crimes per province

Sekhukhune said overall, the North West province experienced a 3.2%, or 1 121 cases, in contact crimes. Over 36 000 cases were reported across the province.

While other provinces recorded a decrease in contact crimes, Gauteng had 170 640 cases reported, while the Western Cape saw 112 996 cases being recorded.

In KwaZulu-Natal, 94 914 cases were reported, while Eastern Cape had 65 393 cases reported.

Crime stats reveal increase in police killings

More of the men and women in blue, who are tasked with the responsibility of safeguarding citizens, are being killed while they are on or off duty.

The statistic reveals the extent of the crime police are faced with, according to the police’s head of crime research and statistics, Major General Norman Sekhukhune.

He was speaking as the South African Police Service (SAPS) released the Crime Statistics for the 2017/18 financial year in Parliament on Tuesday.

Sekhukhune's remarks come after five officers were slain at the Engcobo Police Station in the Eastern Cape earlier this year.

While a total of 83 police members lost their lives last year, the figure had increased by 2.4% to 85 this year.

“Of the 85 police officers murdered during the 2017/18 financial year, 28 were fatally wounded while they were on duty and some of the police officials were killed while performing duties within the police station, of course keeping in mind that five of those police officers are those that were massacred [at] Engcobo Police Station. A further two members were found murdered in Koffiefontein Police Station and in both incidents, firearms were [taken] from the community service centre,” he said.

While 28 police officers lost their lives in the line of duty, 57 were killed while they were off duty.

“We also need to keep in mind that [the fact that] police officials are attacked in the line of duty serves as a vicious reminder of the encounters that the police officers are faced with on a daily bases in their quest to ensure that South Africans feel safe,” he said.

More gang-related crimes in the Western Cape

Sekhukhune said, meanwhile, police have been able to look at the motive behind several murders, including those being committed due to economic reasons.

“We also tried to look at the criminal behaviour and motives for the murder. The table indicates selected circumstances which we believe were a contribution to murder statistics, which could be classified either due to motive, activity or economic sector.

“From the remote data that is maintained by crime intelligence division, it could be established that 973 murders committed in the country were gang-related.

He said 237 cases related to taxi violence were recorded nationally, with a bulk of those, 110, coming from Gauteng.

Some 94 cases of illicit mining were recorded during the period under review, with 65 of these being captured in the Free State and the remaining 23 coming from Gauteng.

Sixty two farm murders were recorded overall, with 12 coming from Gauteng - Limpopo (9), North West (9), Mpumalanga (8), Free State (8), KwaZulu-Natal (7), and the rest of the provinces – Western Cape, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape, recording three murders each.

More people died as a result of people taking the law into their own hands, with 849 cases of mob justice being reported nationally.

Out of these, 264 came from Gauteng, 145 from KwaZulu-Natal, 173 from the Western Cape and 95 from Limpopo.

“The fifth category was the murder of police officers, with 85 murders and the highest province being 28 murders. However, one needs to take into consideration that in the 28, we have included 10 police officials who were killed who were based at head office.”


During the past financial year, cash heists increased by a staggering 56.6%, rising from 152 cases in 2016/17 to 238 in the last term.

In a media briefing on the stats, Police Minister Bheki Cele said, however, that police were now using improved crime intelligence, coupled with better coordination, to arrest the trend.

He said crime intelligence operatives had provided information that led to the arrest of over 50 cash heist suspects from 4 June to date.

National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole said SAPS is now formally introducing modus operandi analysis to curb cash heists.

Crime Stats reveal 62 farm murders

Residence occupiers, workers and a manager were part of 62 people killed on South African farms during the 2017/18 financial year, annual crime statistics have revealed.

In a report released in Parliament on Tuesday, the South African Police Services (SAPS) says the violent act was aimed at people on farms and small holdings residing, working or visiting farms and smallholdings.

Of the murdered, 52 were occupiers of the premises while nine were farm workers and one was a farm manager.

A majority of the murders were in Gauteng (12) while the Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Northern Cape all recorded three murders each. There were nine murders in the North West and Limpopo, while eight and seven were recorded in Free State and KwaZulu-Natal, respectively.

National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole said police were categorizing farm crimes as SAPS reviewed the rural safety strategy in order to respond to modus operandi.

“Over and above that, the strategy is also responding to stock theft seeing that this crime was increasing. The Cabinet Lekgotla has declared what we call rural economy and we are there to protect that economy. Within the community mobilisation, we will be engaging with agricultural unions and rural communities so that we are able to provide a collective response to this scourge of crime,” he said.

Other crimes committed on farms included housebreakings (33) and attempted murder (6). Two cases each of rape and stock theft were reported while single cases of robbery with a firearm, carjacking and a kidnapping was investigated.

The report excludes all acts of violence “against infrastructure and property in the rural community aimed at disrupting legal farming activities as a commercial concern, whether the motive/s are related to ideology, land disputes, land issues, revenge, grievances, racist concerns or intimidation”.

Cases of domestic violence or liquor abuse, or resulting from commonplace social interaction between people are also not included.