South Africa ranks in the bottom 20 countries for safety and security

 ·22 Jun 2019

The 2019 Global Peace Index by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) shows that South Africa continues to slide down the rankings as one of the most violent and dangerous places on earth.

The Global Peace Index (GPI), ranks 163 independent states and territories according to their level of peacefulness.

The index covers 99.7% of the world’s population, using 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators from highly respected sources, and measures the state of peace using three thematic domains:

  • The level of societal safety and security;
  • The extent of ongoing domestic and international conflict;
  • The degree of militarisation.

South Africa ranks as the 127th most peaceful country in the world, out of 163 countries and districts measured.

This puts it on the lower-end of the scale (in the lowest quartile), but still some way off war-torn regions like Syria and Afghanistan.

South Africa’s position on the list has declined since 2017, having dropped two places from 125th in 2018, and four places from 123rd in 2017.


According to the index, South Africa ranks within the bottom 20 in the world when it comes to societal safety and security – beating out countries such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

South Africa has historically scored poorly in a number of areas including:

  • Perception of high levels of criminality;
  • Easy access to weapons;
  • Relatively high levels of political terror
  • High levels of violent demonstrations.

The two factors that stand out, however, are levels of violent crime and homicide, which is what pulls South Africa so far down the list of safe places.

Some areas within the country have murder rates higher than some war zones, the report found.

When calculating the cost of violence, South Africa ranks as the 26th most costly in the world, taking up 13% of GDP, totalling $97.4 billion, or $1,971 per capita (in PPP terms).

Read: Organised crime syndicates are using fake debit orders to take billions of rands from South Africans

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