South Africa, a country regarded as one of the most violent in the world, last year recorded a decline in murder rates but at least 50 are killed each day, annual crime figures released on Tuesday say. It is believed that only a fraction of rapes and murders are reported, and only a fraction of those lead to a conviction. According to Stanley Ntapane of United Democratic Movement, “there are war zones with lower rates of killing”.
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa on Tuesday, according to reports, said he
bemoaned the “uniquely random and violent character” of the 2.1 million serious crimes reported in the southern African country last year, of which 32.7% were “contact” crimes associated with violence.
Rampant crime, he said was in part to blame on “the high number of firearms among civilians, greed and conspicuous consumption, the psychology of patriarchal power relations and inconsiderate attitudes towards vulnerable members of society, especially children”.
Those vulnerable to crime remained the poor, as evidenced by the nature of most of the 18 148 murders reported last year, he said. Half of the victims died of stab wounds and about 70% of murders were the results of arguments turned violent, which suggested they happened in poor socio-economic settings.
50 people murdered every day
Opposition parties quickly jumped to criticize the Jacob Zuma led ANC government saying the figures showing that murder, attempted murder and ordinary robberies had decreased could create a “false peace” in the country. “In South Africa, 50 people are still being murdered every day and
murder is still nearly eight times higher than the world average,” Freedom Front Plus’s Pieter Groenewald is quoted saying.
United Democratic Movement chief whip Stanley Ntapane said that no matter how the ANC government spun the statistics, it was undeniable that South Africa suffered from a shockingly high rate of crime, far worse than most other countries in the world. “There are war zones with lower rates of killing,” he said adding that for more than a decade the ANC government has systematically failed to address this horrific situation.”
South Africa is notorious for having one of the highest levels of rape in the world. Only a fraction are reported, and only a fraction of those lead to a conviction. The most recent statistics show that 36,190 cases of rape were
reported to the police between April and December 2007, though experts
believe that number only accounts for one out of nine cases.