South African murder rate soars to 49 a day

South Africa's murder rate jumped 4.65% in the last year, figures show, with almost 49 people killed every day (AFP Photo/Mujahid Safodien)

Johannesburg (AFP) - South Africa's murder rate jumped 4.6 percent in the last year, official data showed Tuesday, with almost 49 people killed every day in a country battling a reputation as one of the crime capitals of the world.

A total of 17,805 murders were committed from April 2014 to March 2015, an increase of 782 deaths from the year before.

The government admitted that authorities were struggling to tackle the problem, but said the 10-year trend showed a decline in overall crime.

Opposition parties and analysts slammed the numbers and said there was a lack of clear strategy to bring crime under control.

The murder figures, which have risen each year from a low of 15,554 in 2011/2012, reflect a reversal of what many had hoped was a long-term progress in reducing violent crime.

"17,805 is a number I would expect from a country at war," said Dianne Kohler-Barnard, shadow police minister of the main opposition Democratic Alliance.

Armed robberies, carjackings and burglaries also increased, showing the country "lacks clear strategies to reverse this dangerous trend," said Gareth Newham of the Institute for Security Studies think-tank.

"That robberies have increased raises questions about the extent to which police resources are being effectively used," he said.

"With... some of the best technology in the world, and more than 194,000 personnel, the SAPS (South African Police Service) should be better able to reduce crimes such as robbery."

Police Minister Nathi Nhleko said South Africa needed "to tackle the violence within our communities."

"To think we can resolve the issue of murder on our own is effectively just hallucination in a sense, because it's a social problem. It's a problem that's got to be tackled at the level of family units."

Reported sexual offences, assaults and car thefts decreased.