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Parliament - The ruling party caucus in Parliament on Tuesday called for "firmer regulation" when it came to people obtaining firearms and knives following another year-on-year increase in the murder rate in South Africa.

The African National Congress (ANC) caucus in a statement said the climbing murder rate was of grave concern and needed intervention.

"The report reflects firearms (41 percent) and knives (31 percent) as the key instruments used to commit murder. This demands firmer regulation in the acquisition of firearms and other harmful instruments. We must also intensify our fight against the possession of illegal firearms in our country," the party said.

Gender-based violence saw an upward trend, prompting the caucus to call for "alternative policing measures", especially where sexual assault cases were concerned.

The number of rapes in South Africa increased from 39 828 to 40 035 (up 0.5 percent) in 2017/18 while the number of sexual assaults climbed to 6 786 (up 8.2 percent) from 6,271 in the previous financial year.

The caucus welcomed Police Minister Bheki Cele's commitment to increase resources in the provinces hardest hit by serious crimes.

"Provinces with the highest population in the country such as Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Western Cape continue to be the most unsafe provinces. While the populations of these provinces have been on the increase, the police-to-population ratio has declined." 

African News Agency (ANA)