Major General Norman Sekhukhune says 21 022 people were murdered during the 12 months ending March 2019.
Sekhukhune said this when the Police Ministry appeared before the Portfolio Committee to present the annual Crime Statistics for the 2018/19 financial year on Thursday.
Briefing members of Parliament, he said in the previous year 20 336 murders were reported.
“In the current financial year, we have recorded 21 022, that is an increase of 636, or 1.4% increase in the total number of murders when compared to the previous financial year,” he said.
Police shocked by 736 murders committed by children
Sekhukhune said, meanwhile, that police have observed a disturbing statistic of reported cases where children have been murdered by other children.
“One thing that we maybe need to mention in terms of the murders that are committed by these children is that when we look at the number of times where children [found themselves on the wrong side of the law], we have observed that some of these murders by other children are committed by other children themselves.
“We have the number that shows that the murders that have been committed by these children in the current financial year are 736,” he said.
Contact crimes over a three year period
Sekhukhune said, meanwhile, that when projected over a three year period – the murder rate had increased by a rate of 3.4%.
There was a 4.6% in the cases of sexual offences that were reported to the police – from 49 660 in 2016/17 to 52 420 in 2018/19 – and this translates to 2 132 more cases of sexual assault that were reported over the past three financial years.
In the same period, attempted murder went up by 4.1% to 18 980, while assault with the intention to do grievous bodily harm increased by 2.2% to 170 979.
Sekhukhune said common assault was up by 3.7% in the period under review, common robbery was up by 2%, while robbery with aggravating circumstances was up by 1.2% over the past three years.
Overall, contact crimes were up by 2.6%, with 617 210 crimes reported.
Over 1000 killed in gang-related cases
Sekhukhune said, meanwhile, that when zooming in on causative factors, 1 727 people lost their lives as a result of a misunderstanding with their killers, while 1 115 murders were related to domestic violence.
He said 1 120 murders over the past financial year were as a result of gang-violence, while 751 deaths were as a result of armed robberies.
Some 789 people were murdered during mob justice incidents, while 321 were as a result of taxi violence.
Eight murders that were reported during this period were political killings.