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‘Unacceptable’ spike in gender-based violence and femicide as lawlessness continues to grip South Africa

‘Unacceptable’ spike in gender-based violence and femicide as lawlessness continues to grip South Africa
Minister of Police Bheki Cele. (Photo: Gallo Images / Brenton Geach)

The second quarter crime statistics, released on Wednesday, are — once again —  grim. Reports of murder increased yet again, with at least 7,004 people murdered in South Africa between July and September 2022. SAPS also recorded a spike in kidnappings, which doubled nationally when compared to the same period last year. 

“The rate at which women are abused, violated and some killed in South Africa remains worrying and unacceptable; many are killed by the people they know, people they love and trust,” said Bheki Cele, Minister of Police, at a briefing on the second quarterly crime statistics on Wednesday. 

The statistics cover the second quarter of 2022/23 — between 1 July and 30 September. Cele noted that the figures were in comparison with the same period in 2021 when South Africa was still under Covid-19 lockdown levels 2, 3 and 4. 

Between July and September 2022, there were 7,004 murders, an increase of 841 incidents from the same period in 2021, according to the Police Recorded Crime Statistics report for the second quarter of 2022/23. This marks an increase of 13.6%. 

KwaZulu-Natal recorded the most number of murders with 1,857 people killed in the province. This was followed by Gauteng with 1,579 murders, and the Eastern Cape with 1,313 murders. 

Inanda and uMlazi police stations in KwaZulu-Natal, and Nyanga police station in the Western Cape recorded the most murder cases during this period. A total of 274 cases of murder were reported at these three stations.

Tens of thousands protest outside Parliament against gender-based violence in September 2019. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Nic Bothma) (Photo: EPA-EFE/NIC BOTHMA)

In a sample size of 6,342 counts of murder, the most common cause was arguments, misunderstandings, road rage and provocation, causing 956 murders. This was followed by vigilantism or mob justice, causing 528 murders, and robbery, causing 362 murders. 

Between July and September 2021, 897 women were murdered in South Africa. For the same period this year, that number increased to 989, an increase of 10.3%. 

Additionally, Cele said more than 1,200 women were victims of attempted murder between July and September 2022. Attempted murder of women went up from 1,155 to 1,277 – an increase of 10.6%.

Alarmingly, 13,701 women were victims of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm between July and September 2022, an increase of 1,877 incidents from the same period in 2021. This marks an increase of 15.9%. 

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Crime stats

Protesters wear face masks to protect themselves against the coronavirus at a gender-based violence protest outside Parliament on 30 June 2020 in Cape Town. (Photo: Gallo Images / Nardus Engelbrecht)

Sexual violence

Between July and September 2022, 10,590 rape cases were reported across the country. Over the same period last year, 9,556 rape cases were reported. This marks an increase of 10.8%. 

“From a sample of 8,227 rape incidents that were perused, it was determined that 5,083 — which is 62% – of these incidents occurred at the residence of the victims or perpetrators,” said Cele. 

“1,651 of the rape incidents occurred at public places such as streets, parks and beaches, [and] 69 people were raped at abandoned buildings.”

Mpumalanga was the only province which saw a decrease in reported rape cases. 

The top 10 police stations with the most reported rape cases were:

  • Inanda in KwaZulu-Natal;
  • Mthatha in the Eastern Cape;
  • Delft in the Western Cape;
  • Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape
  • Thohoyandou in Limpopo;
  • Harare in the Western Cape;
  • Plessislaer in KwaZulu-Natal;
  • uMlazi in KwaZulu-Natal;
  • Kraaifontein in the Western Cape; and
  • Tsakane in Gauteng.

1,895 cases of sexual assault were reported to police between July and September this year. This is an increase of 142 reported cases (8.1%) compared to the same period last year, which was 1,753. 

Cele emphasised that gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) remain priority crimes for the SAPS.


“The crime statistics again show that we as communities continue to fail to protect some of the most vulnerable in society; our children,” said Cele. 

Kidnapping has seen an increase during the 2022/23 second quarter, with 4,028 kidnappings taking place compared to 2,000 reported in the same period the previous year. This marks an increase of 2,028 cases (101.4%).

Gauteng recorded the most kidnappings with an alarming 2,104 incidents between July and September 2022. DM


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