On Tuesday, the SAPS released its crime statistics for the 2017/18 financial year which reflected a 6.9% increase in murders, amounting to about 56 murders a day in the country.
Kelebogile Leepile, IRR’s media and public affairs officer, said the increase in the murder rate showed South Africa still faced challenges.
“The figures do go against our optimistic view. However, it offers an opportunity for advancement and provides us with a sense of a new path where we look at what is wrong and how we are supposed to be fixing the problem,” she said.
Leepile said the figures showed South Africa had a continuous high rate of crime, but noted that over the long-term, with more employment and better policing, the statistics showed it was possible to reduce the crime burden.
She felt IRR’s report highlighted several of the country’s achievements.
“The tone and inflection of media and other reporting and activist commentary became predominantly negative - often with good reason,” she said in the report. “But we became concerned that balance was being lost and that, amidst their fears and frustrations, South Africans would believe they had failed at what so many people had bravely set out to do in 1994.”
According to the report, inflation dropped from 9% in 1994 to 5.3% in 2017.
Economist Professor Bonke Dumisa agreed there was an improvement. He said the inflation range was in a good region as it was not above 6%, and was not too small as it was not below 3%.
“An inflation rate that is too low is not good, as is the case with Japan and the US, that are struggling with very low inflation which has affected business. The current inflation rate is good for low-income groups,” he said.
Although South Africa still has a high unemployment rate of 27.2%, the number of black people with jobs increased from 4.9 million in 1994 to more than 12 million in 2017.
The upward mobility of black people within the workspace was also another statistic that changed significantly since the advent of democracy.
The number of people going to university had also increased. The report found that in 1985 there were 211756 students enrolled, which increased nearly fourfold in 2015 to 824880.