CAPE TOWN: South Africa’s murder rate rose again last year, official statistics showed on Tuesday, with over 20,000 people killed across the country -- about 57 a day -- as police admitted they were struggling to keep control.
A total of 20,336 people were murdered in the 12 months to March this year, a rise of 6.9 percent over the previous year and one of the sharpest increases since the end of apartheid 24 years ago.
"Fifty-seven a day -- that’s how many South Africans are murdered. It borders close to the war zone, while there is a peace. And there is no war in South Africa," Police Minister Bheki Cele told lawmakers in Cape Town. "South Africans must not take it as a norm that they can be hijacked, robbed and killed every day."
Cele admitted that the figures revealed that the police had "dropped the ball" in their crime-fighting efforts. Presenting the figures to parliament, Norman Sekhukhune, the police official responsible for crime statistics, said the murder rate had increased for six consecutive years. Lawmaker Francois Beukman, who heads the police oversight committee in parliament, described the numbers as "alarming and totally unacceptable".