'The police dropped the ball' - Cele on 'war zone' crime stats

Minister of Police Bheki Cele

'The police dropped the ball' - Cele on 'war zone' crime stats

The province with the highest number of murders was Western Cape, which includes Cape Town - the country's top tourist hub - followed by Gauteng, the seat of the capital Pretoria and the economic hub of Johannesburg.

The release of the crime statistics for the 2017-2018 period was a sobering affair, during which Police Minister Bheki Cele likened the situation to that of a "war zone".

Cele said that according to the stats, 57 South Africans were murdered every day.

An eagle eye's view of the murder statistics shows that 20 336 murders were reported during the period under review, which represents a 6.9% increase overall when compared to the previous year.

Presenting the crime statistics for the 2017-2018 financial year in parliament on Tuesday, the head of police crime research and statistics, Maj-Gen Norman Sekhukhune, painted a sorry picture of the fight against crime.

The rise in murder rate was partly down to gang violence and lethal turf wars over the control of lucrative taxi mini-bus routes that transport many poorer South Africans to work.

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South African police often come under fire for failing to bring down crime levels, while police chiefs saying they need at least 62,000 more officers.

Cash-in-transit heists, a common occurrence now, have unsurprisingly increased from 137 cases in the 2015/2016 period to 238 in the past year. "The other four have gone down that is assault GBH, assault common robbery, and robbery with aggravating circumstances and the overall broad category of contact crimes have decreased by 1.1%", said Sekhukhune. Sekhukhune said there were 808 gang-related murders in the Western Cape, and 87 in the Eastern Cape.

The number for the previous financial year was 19 016.

Murders of women and children have tragically increased.

Firearms are the weapons most used to commit murder, accounting for half the death toll.

"The figures that always scare me are murder figures", he said.

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