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Nelson Mandela Bay is the most violent metro in SA

By Anita Dangazele

Violent crime is on the rise in Nelson Mandela Bay – this week alone 10 people lost their lives in shootings across the city’s townships.

On Sunday, four people lost their lives in a mass shooting in KwaDwesi; on Tuesday, three men were gunned down in Kariega; on Wednesday morning, a woman in her 60s was shot dead in her home and two youngsters were shot within two hours of each other in a suspected hit in Soweto-on-Sea.

According to a study by South African Cities Network, Nelson Mandela Bay is ranked as the most violent metro in the country with 80 murders for every 100,000 people.

Siphelele Ngobese, a researcher for the network, said these numbers painted a very bleak picture of safety in the country.

“The key concern is Nelson Mandela Bay, and it’s important to understand that different cities have different drivers of crime,” she said.

“How crime manifests is influenced by different things, like the flow and access to illicit firearms and gang activity. That’s the main thing driving murders in this particular city.”

Crime expert Dr Guy Lamb of Stellenbosch University said it was necessary to keep the Bay’s population in mind when assessing the statistics.

“Nelson Mandela Bay has a smaller population compared to Johannesburg or Cape Town, but it has high levels of violent crime.

“One of the key drivers for murder in the Bay metro is the easy access to firearms and a surge in gang violence in certain areas.”

In April, Bay police identified at least two firearm dealers as the main source of providing guns to criminals in the metro.

Police spokesperson Colonel Priscilla Naidu said 24 negligent loss of firearm cases were opened against the owner of a Gqeberha firearm store after he could not account for the missing weapons.

Naidu said some of the guns retrieved by police from well-known gangsters were traced to the two dealerships.

She said it was shocking that “none of these firearms have been reported lost or stolen by the company”.

No arrests have yet been made in connection with the recent shootings and investigations are ongoing, Naidu said.

Pictured above: Illustration image.

Image source: SAPS