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Grim Tally: Gauteng's Murder Rate Climbs as Violence Claims Over 1,700 Lives in Three Months

Published March 14, 2024
2 months ago

Gauteng, the economic hub of South Africa, faces a grim reality as murder rates climb, with recent statistics painting a disturbing picture of violence. Lt-Gen Tommy Mthombeni, Gauteng's police commissioner, presented a harrowing report to the provincial legislature: 1,787 murders recorded between October and December 2023, marking a 3.8% increase from the previous year.

In the breakdown of these deaths, 214 victims were women, and a deeply concerning number, 55, were children. Jeppe police station topped the list of murder locations, with 66 killings, an alarming surge of 57%. Following closely were Ivory Park and Johannesburg Central, which presented mixed trends—an increase and a decline in murder cases, respectively.

The methods of murder were diverse and brutal: a staggering 892 individuals were killed by guns, 188 via knife attacks, and others through various means including sharp instruments, physical encounters, and using blunt objects.

Overall, attempted murders also saw a 9.4% rise, totaling 1,777 cases. Assaults with intent to inflict severe bodily harm and robbery with aggravating circumstances witnessed increases that add to a narrative of intensifying violence.

However, not all figures showed growth: some, such as robbery at non-residential premises, showed a decline. Meanwhile, rape cases slightly decreased by 1.2%.

In this environment of violence, authorities identified the root causes contributing to the murder rate: arguments, robberies, and—in some instances—vigilantism.

But it's not just interpersonal violence that's troubling Gauteng. The report also drew attention to illegal mining operations, a significant concern in the province. With over 600 abandoned mines, foreign nationals from neighboring countries have been involved in extensive illegal mining activities. From April to December 2023, police operations led to substantial confiscations, including cash and precious metals, as well as arrests and considerable asset seizures under Project Gillet.

The battle against crime is multi-dimensional, with specialized police units deployed to tackle not only conventional crime but the scourge of illegal mining, reflecting the complex challenge law enforcement faces in Gauteng.

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