KwaZulu-Natal remains South Africa’s murder capital

KwaZulu-Natal continues to be South Africa’s capital for murder, according to fourth-quarter crime statistics released by Police Minister Bheki Cele.

Speaking in Cape Town on Tuesday, Cele said the majority of killings took place in KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape and Gauteng, with vigilantism and robberies topping the motive list for murder.

KwaZulu-Natal also holds the highest figure of multiple murder cases at 206, followed by the Eastern Cape with 155 cases.

The minister said a total of 6 289 people were killed with either a firearm, knife, sharp and blunt instruments, stones and even bare hands between January and March 2023, noting that murder cases increased countrywide by 3.4% in the reporting period.

“This is the lowest single-digit decrease recorded compared with the previous three quarters. Though it is a decrease, these are not just figures but human lives that should be protected at all costs,” Cele said.

“This is why these figures prompt us as the police to double-up policing efforts to decrease contact crimes.”

Briefing the media, Cele said a decline has been noticed in the killing of children compared with the same period in 2022.

Child murders decreased by 19.9% and a slight decrease was also noted in assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm cases of children. 

“One child murder is one too many and the South African Police Service must strive for zero tolerance on the murder of children,” he said.

The minister said 29 more children were victims of attempted murder compared with the same period in 2022.

The women of this country also continue to be stalked by violence, mainly at the hands of men. A double-digit percentage increase of 21.5% was recorded in attempted murder figures in the fourth quarter.

This means there were 1 485 attempted murders of women in South Africa in the first three months of 2023.

An additional 969 women were killed in the same period and over 15 000 women were assaulted, said Cele, noting that the police are investigating assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm cases.

Reported rape cases have, however, shown decreases during the period under review, with six provinces reporting less rape cases. 

However, it remains concerning that 10 512 people were raped in the first three months of 2023. A total of 4 768 rape incidents took place at the home of the victim or at the home of the perpetrator.

The minister said a R65-million has been allocated to top 30 crime-heavy police stations to address murder and other contact crimes.

Over and above this additional funding, Cele said the police will respond directly to calls by communities to increase the capability and training of the tactical response teams.

A R1.8-billion has also been allocated for the procurement of police vehicles to improve police visibility. Cele’s department will also buy unmanned aerial vehicles or so-called drones to conduct policing from the sky.

An additional R70-million of the SA Police Service budget in the current financial year will be allocated to all provinces to support community policing forums (CPF).

“This funding will mean CPF members are not short of protective clothing, torches, communication material, and other tools of trade to enable them to be fit for purpose.

“Community policing remains a vital part of the overall strategy to push back on crime,” said the police minister.


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