South Africa ’ s murder rate rose by 1. 8 percent in the last year , with over 19 , 000 people killed across the country — 52 a day — official statistics released Tuesday showed .
The eastern province of KwaZulu -Natal , which is hit by political violence, recorded the highest number of murders , followed by Gauteng, which includes Johannesburg and the capital Pretoria .
“Over the past four financial years , murder has reflected an upward trend . We need a combative and decisive policing when we deal with such crimes ,” said Police Minister Fikile Mbalula.
A total of 19 ,016 were killed between April 2016 to March 2017 , up from 18 , 673 the previous year .
“We must not see these statistics just as pure numbers ,” Mbalula told lawmakers in parliament as he delivered the official statistics .
“Behind the numbers are real feelings, real lives , real hurt , real harm , real losses , deaths .”
In the Western Cape , which includes the gang -ridden city of Cape Town, gang -related killings accounted for 19 . 3 percent of all murders in the province. A total of 39 ,828 rapes were reported in the past year — 109 a day — down from 41 ,503 .