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By Cheryl Kahla

Content Strategist

South Africa’s crime stats reveal a troubling trend in rising violence

The crime statistics for the fourth quarter highlight the reality of violence in South Africa.

Police Minister Bheki Cele will present the quarterly crime stats – for the fourth quarter of 2022/2023 – on Tuesday, 30 May.

Cele presented the crime statistics to the Portfolio Committee on Tuesday morning, showing increase of 3.4% when compared to the same period last year.

Crime stats Q4 2022/2023

Violent crimes increased by 4% for the period between January and March this year, when compared to January – March 2022.

Murder and assault

A total of 6 289 murders were reported during those months, which is an increase of 3.4%.

Attempted murders also increased by 8.4%, with 6 192 reported to police during the fourth quarter of 2022/2023.

Meanwhile, assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm (GBH) increased by 0.7% (43 090 reported cases).

In addition, 49 266 common assault cases were reported, which represents an increased of 7.6% during the fourth quarter.

Causative factors

The leading factors for murder, attempted murder and assault to inflict grievous bodily harm seems to be arguments, misunderstandings, road rage and provocation.

These factors contributed to 872 murders committed during the fourth quarter, 1 182 attempted murders, and 16 645 assault cases.

Other factors leading to murder and assault are as follows:

CrimeMurders:AttemptedAssault GBH
Vigilantism, mob justice58858428
Retaliation, revenge, punishment2893181 946

Recent spate of violence

Just yesterday, a shooting incident in Montclair, Durban, claimed the life of a woman believed to be in her sixties.

In Constantia, Cape Town, a Bulgarian crime boss and his wife was murdered, execution style. And it doesn’t stop there.

In Durban, a Wentworth father was murdered while holding his five-month-old baby daughter. His seven-year-old son witnessed the murder.

Taxi-related violence is also on the increase. Just this week, two men were killed and five were injured at the Nyanga taxi rank.

Alcohol and drugs

Meanwhile, alcohol and drug-related offences resulted in a total of 227 confirmed murders, 228 attempted murders, 71 cases of rape, and 2 604 cases of assault GBH.

These figures represent the cases reported at taverns, shebeens, pubs, bars and night clubs.

Between January and March 2023:

  • Murder: 19 cases with drugs as a motivator; 217 cases where alcohol was the motivator.
  • Rape: 100 cases with drugs as a motivator; 1 237 cases where alcohol was the motivator.
  • Assault: 160 cases with drugs as a motivator; 3 123 cases where alcohol was the motivator.

Troubling trends

The crime stats for the fourth quarter show increasing rates of violence crimes in South Africa, specifically murder and assault.

These crimes have seen a notable increase during the fourth quarter of 2022/2023 when compared to the same period last year.

Alcohol and drug-related offenses contributing to these numbers present a significant concern which requires a large debate on a societal level.

READ: SA on slippery slope to explosion of violence  

Stuck in a tunnel

Following Cele’s presentation before the Portfolio Committee on Police, IFP MP Zandile Majozi said the increase of crime in South African cannot continue as it has.

“We can’t have an increase of murder all the time. It cannot be that we continue with the situation that we have.”

Cele said despite the efforts of police, “we have not managed to prevent the death of a single South African through criminality”.

“We are not getting out of the tunnel, but we can see a little bit of the light, we just hope it is not the train.”

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