South Africa recorded 20,336 murders in the last year, an increase of 1,320 murders compared to the same period the year before, Police Minister Bheki Cele has said.
“This means 57 murders a day. It borders on a war zone,” the visibly angry minister said.
Police records show that murder rates have increased in the past six consecutive years.
Francois Beukman, who heads the police oversight committee in parliament, described the numbers as “alarming and totally unacceptable”.
Admitting that the police haven’t done as well as they should have, Mr Cele said the security officers had “dropped the ball.”
“South Africans must not take it as a norm that they can be hijacked, robbed and killed every day. We have to pick up the ball and change the situation for the better.”
He promised to work hard to change the situation: “Our bottom line is that this situation must reverse,” he said.
The motives and circumstances behind killings range from gangsterism to vigilantism.