S.Africa 'close to war zone' with 57 murders a day: minister

Minister of Police Bheki Cele

'Fifty-seven a day, that's how South Africans are murdered.

Police minister Bheki Cele will from Thursday host a two-day national crime prevention summit.

Provincially, KZN recorded the highest number of murders out of all the provinces - with an a 9.2 percent increase in the provincial murder rate.

"The figures that always scare me are murder figures", he said.

Lawmaker Francois Beukman, who heads the police oversight committee in parliament, described the numbers as "alarming and totally unacceptable".

The release of the annual crime statistics in parliament on Tuesday painted a grim picture in the fight against crime for the men and women in blue in the province.

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Umlazi in the south recorded the second highest number of reported rape cases in the country - at 252.

But Cele says funds have been released to ensure police colleges can take in more recruits to bolster the South African Police Service's ranks.

"The top police stations in terms of murder, the Western Cape had 10 stations in the top 30 police stations, followed by Gauteng with nine, then KwaZulu-Natal with six and Eastern Cape with five".

"My directive as we are starting the festive season is to kick off with a serious and violent crimes specialised unit to respond to both murders, taxi violence and gang-related crimes", Sithole said.

The question is, he said: "How do we collectively pick up the ball, change the game plan and re-position the police?" Murder increased by 6.9% while attempted murder increased by only 0.2%.

Specifically common robberies, carjackings, theft out of motor vehicles and business robberies had increased in Pinetown by 14.9, 50, 23 per cent and 12.8 per cent respectively.

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