The number of homicides rose by 1.4% to 21,325 in the 12 months through March — an average of 58 a day — the police service said in its annual crime-statistics report.
The murder rate of 36 per 100,000 people was little changed from the previous year and compares with an international average of seven per 100,000. The number of rapes, sexual offenses and car hi-jackings also increased, but property-related crime declined.
“We are not where we want to be,” Police Minister Bheki Cele said at a briefing in Pretoria, the capital. “However we are pleased with the improvements in most stubborn crime categories.”
Violent crime is fueled by widespread alcohol and drug abuse, and perpetrators often know their victims, the police data show. A lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the virus should have a positive impact on the current year’s statistics, with preliminary data showing it helped curtail homicides and other crimes.
South African police have arrested dozens of people in Johannesburg on September 2 after rioters looted shops, burned tyres and blocked road junctions – the second outbreak of urban rioting in a week. (Image: Johannesburg).
Police had no answer what exactly had triggered the violence, however it is generally considered that the social context has deteriorated: unemployment at close to 30%, widespread poverty and income disparities have all been blamed for recent outbreaks and attacks on immigrants.
Last week, hundreds of protesters in the administrative capital Pretoria set fire to buildings, looted mostly foreign-owned businesses and clashed with police, who started to fire rubber bullets at the crowds in attempt to stop further devastation.
Taxi drivers issued an alert to commuters asking them to avoid Pretoria downtown.
However, Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama said Nigerian shops had been targeted by “mindless criminals” and promised to take “definitive measures“.
A lawsuit filed by environmental and community groups accuses South Africa’s government in failure to resolve the problem of high air pollution levels in an area which is site of coal-fired power stations and refineries.
The case filed in the Pretoria High Court claims the government has violated the Constitutional right to a healthy environment for inhabitants of the densely-polluted Highveld Priority Area. It was brought by environmental justice group @groundWorkSA and community organisation Vukani Environmental Justice Movement in Action.
Africa’s most advanced economy is generating most of its energy from coal-fired power plants that emit millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Image above: illustration
Kevin Richardson (42) manages a wildlife area with 31 lions within the Dinokeng reserve north of South Africa’s capital, Pretoria. Many of the lions, which were captive-bred and cannot be released into the wild, were rescued from being transferred to operations that would let customers shoot them, he said.
“I have been accepted as part of the pride,” said Richardson, scratching the lion Bayetsi’s chin. “But I have to be very careful. They are large animals and are very good at telling you how they feel.”