Over 3,000 murders by guns in three months
In the latest quarterly crime statistics from July 1 to September 30, it has been revealed that firearms are the main weapon used in murders across South Africa.
Police Minister Bheki Cele presented these figures, which indicated a total of 6,945 murders during this period, with firearms being used in 3,106 of these cases.
The breakdown by region shows that Gauteng is the most affected with 884 firearm-related murders, followed by KwaZulu-Natal with 796 cases.
The Western Cape and Eastern Cape also reported high numbers, with 634 and 467 cases respectively.
Notably, the statistics also highlighted the tragic loss of life among women and children, with 881 women and 293 children being murder victims during this period.
In addition, the report mentions the deaths of 35 on- and off-duty police officers and 19 law enforcement officers from various governmental sectors and private security.
These statistics have prompted GunFree South Africa (GFSA) to demand stricter controls on firearms.
GFSA researcher Claire Taylor pointed out the increase in gun-related violence, with an average of 34 people being shot dead daily during the quarter, up from 31 in previous quarters.
Taylor stressed the link between the availability of guns and the rate of gun violence, citing that the reduction in gun availability due to the Firearms Control Act (2000) had once halved the daily gun death rate.
However, with the increase in firearms numbers due to various control breakdowns, gun violence has been on the rise again.
Taylor urges the government to take action, such as establishing specialised firearms units to recover and destroy illegal guns, amending the Firearms Control Act to close loopholes, and ensuring the functionality of the central firearms registry for tracking firearms.
Despite a decrease in some crime statistics, Minister Cele cautioned that the current crime levels remain distressingly high. He reported that police operations had removed 2,175 firearms from the streets in the reviewed quarter.
Pictured above: Bheki Cele.
Image source: File