75 people are murdered every day in South Africa – these are the worst areas

 ·30 May 2023

The South African Police Service (SAPS) says the number of murders in the nation increased year-on-year (YoY) in the first three months of 2023.

The SAPS Q4 2022/23 financial year crime stats show that the number of murders increased by 206 cases YoY – increasing by 3.4% from 6,083 in Q4 2021/22 to 6,289.

Despite a slight drop in Q4 2019/20, South Africa has seen a major increase in murders over the last five years.

By comparison, in Q4 2019/20, the number of murders totalled 4,869 –  1,420 fewer murders than the current stats.

Across all four quarters (April 2022 to March 2023), the SAPS recorded 27,272 murders for the full year – equating to 75 murders per day in South Africa.

Based on the 2022 population estimate of 60.6 million people, this would give the country a murder rate of 45 murders per 100,000 – one of the highest in the world.

Murder 2021/22 2022/23 Change
Q1: April – June 5 760 6 424 +11.5%
Q2: July – September 6 163 7 004 +13.6%
Q3: October – December 6 859 7 555 +10.1%
Q4: January – March 6 083 6 289 +3.4%
FY: Total 24 865 27 272 +9.7%
Murders per day (Full year) 68.1 74.7
Population estimate 59.4 million 60.6 million
Murder rate per 100,000 41.2 45.0


In terms of murder, the station that recorded the most murders was Umlazi in KwaZulu-Natal, which recorded 68 murders.

However, the Umlazi station did see the number of murders decreased by 35 YoY.

Inanda, which recorded the second-largest number of murders, also saw its murder count decrease by 11 YoY to 64.

Delft (60), Plessislar (57) and Orange Farms police (48) completed the top five of most murders recorded in the quarter.

Overall, the Roodepoort police station in Gauteng and the Bethelsdorp police station in the Eastern Cape saw the biggest increase in murders, with both recording a 22 YoY difference.

Provincial make-up 

Overall, in terms of per capita murder in each province, the Eastern Cape sees the most murders per 100,000 people, at 16.7.

KwaZulu-Natal then follows at 13.6, whilst the Western Cape completes the top three with 11.9

Limpopo has the least murders per province, with 4.2 murders per 100,000.

Since Q4 2018/19, there has been a decrease in the overall ratio of deaths in the Western Cape, Free State, and the Northern Cape.

Murder weapon 

Firearms remain the most used weapon for murders, accounting for 2,629 of 6,068 murders.

For instance, in Gauteng, firearm-related murders accounted for 727 cases, far more than the 144 cases for knives, the second most frequently used instrument.

However, in the Free State and the Northern Cape, knives were the most frequently used weapons at 61 and 45, respectively.

Contact crimes

Regarding contact crimes, the Johannesburg Central police station continues to record the most cases, with cases increasing by 66 (6.7%) to 1,054 in Q4 2022/23.

Mfuleni (959), Nyanga (950), and Mitchells Plain (933) in the Western Cape recorded the next highest set of contact crimes in the country, with Tembisa (927) in Gauteng completing the top five.

The station which saw the biggest drop (-21%) was the Mamelodi East police station in Gauteng.

The total number of contact crimes saw a YoY increase of 4.0% YoY, increasing from 157,907 in Q4 2021/22 to 164,206 in Q4 2022/23.

The number of attempted murders also increased by 8.3% (475) to 6,192 in Q4 2022/23.

Common robbery saw the largest increase of 8.9% (957), jumping from 10,787 in Q4 2021/22 to 11 744 in Q4 2022/23.

Common assault (7.6%), robbery with aggravating circumstances (5.1%) and assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm (0.2%) all saw YoY increases.

The only category to see a YoY drop for contact crimes was sexual offences, which saw 594 (-4.3%) fewer cases.

Read: Criminals in South Africa are getting desperate – and more violent

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