The Cape of mayhem

28 January 2015 - 09:37 By GRAEME HOSKEN

A report on violence worldwide singles out Cape Town as one of the most violent cities, with Durban and Nelson Mandela Bay also in the top 50.

According to the Mexican Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice's latest report, Cape Town is South Africa's most violent city - and it says that the violence is getting worse.

The report excludes cities in war zones.

The council identified Cape Town as the world's 14th-most violent city, six places up from last year.

Nelson Mandela Bay and Durban moved from 48th and 38th on the list respectively to 41st and 34th.

Johannesburg, notorious for its hijackings and robberies, did not feature in the rankings this year.

The last time it did was in 2011, when it ranked 50th.

The report ranks cities by the number of murders per 100000 people; only cities with a population of 300000 or more are considered by the researchers.

The report records that there were 2244 murders in Cape Town last year - a rate of 60 killings per 100000 people.

Nelson Mandela Bay had 402 murders last year, a rate of 34.9 per 100000, and in Durban there were 1442 murders, a rate of 34.7 per 100 000 people.

The report's authors sourced their information from Statistics SA and the police.

San Pedro Sula, in Honduras, is the world's most violent city.

Institute for Security Studies researcher Johan Burger said the report's ranking should be viewed with caution.

"The Cape Town inner city has a very low rate of violent crime.

"The problem is not with the city but in surrounding areas such as Nyanga and Khayelitsha, which have the country's highest murder and rape rates.

"One must look at the reasons, such as unemployment and poor service delivery [which are at the root] of many of South Africa's social problems, such as alcohol and drug abuse, which cause most of the violent crimes.

"There must be more focused attention by the government on infrastructure development, job creation and municipal services, things the police don't do.

"More violence is in the future for South Africa. It's related to high levels of frustration in poor communities because of severe deprivation," Burger said.

Kate Tissington, a senior researcher at the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of SA, said: "People are surrounded by wealth but it is inaccessible. This has psycho-social consequences that lead to violence."