South Africa is & # 039; near a war zone & # 039; with 57 murders a day

Crisis: South African police are often criticized for not addressing the rising levels of crime, but say they need at least 62,000 more officers

The already high murder rate in South Africa has increased by seven percent, prompting the country's police minister to compare the situation with a "war zone."

More than 20,300 people, some 57 per day, have died across the country in just 12 months, according to official statistics on Tuesday.

Many murders were related to gang violence in the Western Cape province, whose capital is Cape Town.

Crisis: South African police are often criticized for not addressing the rising levels of crime, but say they need at least 62,000 more officers

Crisis: South African police are often criticized for not addressing the rising levels of crime, but say they need at least 62,000 more officers

A total of 20,336 people died between April 2017 and the end of March 2018, compared to 19,016 the previous year.

The figures reflect a year-on-year increase of 6.9 percent, one of the highest per capita since the end of apartheid 24 years ago.

Fifty-seven per day, that's how the South Africans are killed. It borders near the war zone while there is peace, there is no war in South Africa, "Police Minister Bheki Cele told reporters.

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

Police search for weapons and drug suspects during a raid at well-known pharmacies in Mannenburg, Cape Town, South Africa, last month

Police search for weapons and drug suspects during a raid at well-known pharmacies in Mannenburg, Cape Town, South Africa, last month

Police search for weapons and drug suspects during a raid at well-known pharmacies in Mannenburg, Cape Town, South Africa, last month

"South Africans should not take as a rule that they can be kidnapped, robbed and killed every day, we have to pick up the ball and change the situation for the better."

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

In presenting the figures to parliament, Norman Sekhukhune, the police officer responsible for crime investigation and statistics, said the murder rate had increased over the past six consecutive years.

South African police are often criticized for not reducing crime levels, while police chiefs say they need at least 62,000 more officers.

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