Knives used in majority of murders in South Africa

By Yolisa Tswanya Time of article published Nov 8, 2017

Share this article:

Cape Town - Even though there is a high proliferation of guns in the country, you are more likely to be stabbed to death than shot.

This according to analysis of the latest crime statistics released by police a few weeks ago.

Crime Hub manager for the Justice and Violence Prevention Programme at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), Lizette Lancaster, said 70% of murder victims were aged between 20 and 39, with most between 20 and 29 years. Knives were used in 36% of cases followed by firearms (31%) and other sharp objects (11%).

“South Africans are 13% more likely to be murdered than they were five years ago. Men are more likely to be killed than women and children.

“Men made up the largest proportion (82%) of murder victims with 15 547 cases. Women over 18 made up 2 633 (14%) of victims and 836 (4%) murder victims were children under 18. So on average, 43 men, seven women and two children were murdered every day in 2016/17.”

She said a docket analysis of 2 912 murders perpetrated during 2015 showed a number of trends including that half of murders took place over weekends - 26% on Saturdays and 24% on Sundays.

Every day on average during the 2016/17 financial year, 52 people were murdered.

She added that vigilantism accounted for 10% and gang violence only 2% of murders. A large number of perpetrators were aged between 20 and 39 and also between 20 and 29.

“The ISS has called for a forum where state and non-state data can be shared and analysed in the long term, the most effective way to reduce murder is to address the root causes of violence. Research shows that the risk of becoming violent is strongly linked to exposure to violence in the home and community, inconsistent care giving, poor role models, high levels of inequality, and substance abuse. Some murders, such as those that occur because of robberies or inter-group conflict, can be reduced by effective police work.

"The only way South Africa will be able to develop effective murder-reduction strategies is when detailed information about cases is made available by the police.

"The ISS has been calling for a forum to be established where all data and research findings from both state and non-state organisations can be shared and analysed. In this way, tailor-made, evidenced-based strategies could be developed to target those most at risk."

[email protected]

Cape Argus

Share this article: