Murder rates highest in rural areas, survey shows

Nine of the 10 municipalities with the highest murder rates in South Africa are in rural areas, and five of them in KwaZulu-Natal, the South African Institute for Race Relations (SAIRR) said on Wednesday.

Topping the murder list was the Cacadu district municipality of the Eastern Cape, which covers an area that includes Humansdorp, Willowmore, Graaff-Reinet and Grahamstown.

The institute said these figures had been compiled for its annual South Africa Survey, to be published next week.

“A person in South Africa has the highest likelihood of being ... sexually assaulted in the Xhariep district of the Free State, violently robbed personally or at their business premises in the City of Johannesburg, and is most vulnerable to attack if they own a home in the Metsweding district of Gauteng,” it said.

The survey compared the 46 district municipalities and six metropolitan municipalities using four serious crime categories—murder, aggravated robbery, sexual offences and drug-related crime—and two sub-categories—robberies at business and residential premises.

Of the 10 district municipalities with the highest murder rates, nine were in rural areas.

Three of those were in the Eastern Cape, one in the Free State, and five in KwaZulu-Natal.

Ekurhuleni had the lowest murder rate when compared with other metros.

The Cacadu and Xhariep districts had the first and second highest rates of murder respectively and exchanged places for the top two positions when it came to sexual offences.

Drug-related crime
Municipalities with the six highest rates of drug-related crime were all in the Western Cape.

The City of Johannesburg had the highest rates of aggravated and business robberies, and the second highest rate of residential robbery after Metsweding.

All six metros were in the list of the 10 worst rates of aggravated robbery.

Rural municipalities that made it into the top 10 for robberies were Ilembe (KwaZulu-Natal) under aggravated and residential robbery; Motheo (Free State); Bojanala Platinum (North West); Xhariep under business robbery; and Bojanala, Ilembe and Uthungulu (KwaZulu-Natal), and Ehlanzeni (Mpumalanga), under residential robbery.

The institute said it used raw figures from the South African Police Service and population figures from the South African Local Government Association to calculate the municipalities’ crime rates per 100 000 people.

“The list of the 10 areas with the highest rates of sexual offences was characterised by an equal mix of urban and rural areas,” it said.

“The Alfred Nzo and OR Tambo districts of the Eastern Cape are among the 10 districts with the lowest incidence of sexual offences,” it said.

In general, violence against people was more prevalent in rural areas, while offenders in urban areas seemed more preoccupied with “the violent appropriation of material possessions”.—Sapa

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