South Africa’s murder capital is getting worse

The Western Cape government is working on a number of interventions to curb the rising rate of murder in the province.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday (28 June), the province’s minister of Community Safety, Albert Fritz, said of particular concern was the reported spike in crime and murders specifically attributed to gangsterism.

“Between November 2018 and May 2019, there were 2,302 recorded murders,” he said. “The vast majority of these murders were gang-related.”

To combat this, Fritz said that he held a meeting between his department, the SAPS, and the metro police which focused on addressing the major bottlenecks that mitigated against more effective coordination, cooperation and joint planning.

“The meeting also discussed various strategies to address the ongoing issue of the proliferation of illegal firearms and the seemingly unchecked availability of ammunition, much of which is procured via gun shops using sports hunting licenses,” he said.

Fritz said that the provincial response to the National Anti -Gang strategy had also been drafted and was currently out for comment from various stakeholders.

The final draft would soon be presented to cabinet for ratification, he said.

Crime capital

The recent spike in murders has seen Cape Town climb a global ranking of the world’s most violent cities.

Listed as the most violent city in South Africa, Cape Town ranks 11th on a list compiled by the Mexican Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice– this is after dropping to 15th on the list in 2017.

In 2018, Cape Town murder rate of 66.4 per 100,000 people – far worse than the 62.3 per 100,000 people in 2017. In 2018, Cape Town had a population of 4,322,031 people and 2,868 homicides.

The report lists the 50 most violent cities by the number of murders per 100,000 people, only considering cities with populations exceeding 300,000, where murder statistics are made available.

As with previous years, the majority of the world’s most violent cities are in the Americas, particularly Mexico and South America. South Africa has the dubious honour of being the only non-American country listed.

In South Africa, two other cities are listed outside of Cape Town: Durban, and Nelson Mandela Bay.

Nelson Mandela Bay saw its murder rate worsen from 37.5 per 100,000 in 2017, to 39.2 per 100,000 in 2018, making it again the second most violent city in the country. It ranks 45th, globally.

In 2018, Nelson Mandela Bay had a population of 1,220,616 people and 478 homicides.

Durban’s murder rate also increased marginally, from 38.1 per 100,000 in 2017, to 38.5 per 100,000 in 2018 – however, its position on the overall list improved, from 44th in 2017, to 47th in 2018.

In 2018, Durban had a population of 4,055,969 population and 1,562 homicides.

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

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South Africa’s murder capital is getting worse