South Africa is the 10th most violent and 19th unsafest country in the world, according to the latest Global Peace Index, compiled by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP).
The index found that the national cost of violence in South Africa is at 19% of the country’s GDP – the 16th highest rate in the world.
This position is significantly worse than in the 2015 report, where South African 33rd in this metric.
The group said that total violence containment spending in South Africa amounted to $66.7 billion (R989 billion) in the past year. Expressed in PPP terms, this is about $124.3 billion (R1.84 trillion).
This equates to roughly R34,160 per person in the country.
Globally, the state of peace has again deteriorated, with the global index declining by 0.53 percentage points. While 81 countries actually improved their peace rating, 79 countries deteriorating, reflecting the inequality of peace.
The global economic impact of violence across the world is over 13% of global GDP, swallowing up $13.6 trillion in PPP terms, or $1,876 for every person on earth.
In terms of the most and least peaceful nations, the top of the index was once again led by Iceland and Austria – while war-torn Syria, South Sudan and Iraq made up the index’s tail.
South Africa ranked 126th overall, an improvement from 133rd in 2015.
Most and least peaceful countries in the world
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South Africa stands out in 5 categories of violence: the number of violent crimes, the number of violent protests, the number of murders, easy access to weapons, and an overall perception of criminality.
Out of 193 countries, South Africa ranked as the 10th worst in overall violence reduction (2015: 8th), below high violence countries such as Belize, Hondurus, Venezuela and war-torn Syria.
When it comes to societal safety and security, South Africa ranks as the 19th worst country in the world (2015: 15th).
Despite its poor showing, South Africa was a “top 5 improver” globally, the IEP said, driven largely by a reduction in arms trade and military spending.
“Consolidation of power by the ruling ANC and a weak and mistrusted security apparatus will weigh on internal stability, which means the country may find it hard to build on its progress going forward,” the group said.
The Global Peace Index is the latest to reaffirm South Africa’s position as one of the most dangerous places on earth, following similar findings from the World Health Organization and the World Economic Forum.
Recent reports out from those organizations found that South Africa is within the top 10 of most violent places on earth due to its alarmingly high murder rate.
In the last quarter of 2015, local stats showed that murders increased for the third year in a row in South Africa.
According to the figures, 17,805 people were murdered between April 2014 to March 2015. In the 2012/2013 period the figure was 16,213.