Between 18 and 21 South Africans per day killed by guns
Between 18 and 21 of the 52 South Africans murdered per day are killed with guns.
This is according to non-profit Gun Free South Africa (GFSA).
The police released their annual crime statistics on Tuesday‚ documenting the period from April 2016 to March this year.
The murder rate increased by 1.8%‚ with 19‚016 people killed. Attempted murder rose by 0.4% to about 50 per day (18‚205) while robberies with aggravating circumstances rose by 6.4%. These are crimes commonly committed with guns.
Gun Free South Africa said that according to research by the Medical Research Council‚ the murder rate dropped between 2000 and 2010 due to stronger gun laws‚ before the trend started to reverse in 2012.
They believe it was due a "breakdown" of the firearms control management system since 2012‚ which has led to fraud and corruption in the licensing of guns.
“This is best demonstrated by the sentencing to 18 years of Christiaan Prinsloo‚ a senior police officer‚ for selling 2‚400 confiscated and surrendered guns ‘destroyed’ by police to Western Cape gangsters. Thus far‚ 1‚066 murders in that province have been forensically linked to those guns.”
Prinsloo was convicted and sentenced to 18 years in prison.
Security industry expert Martin Hood also referred to Prinsloo as an example of the "massive leakage" of firearms from the police.
"What we are seeing is that there is a direct relationship between criminal use of firearms and the theft of firearms."
He believes that the firearms Prinsloo sold are related to a spike in gang-related crimes in Western Cape.
Hood believes the rise in crime is a result of the "decreasing ability" of the police.
"The police are retreating from the suburbs and they are allowing the private security industry to fill the role that they previously [did] – and constitutionally should do."
GFSA director Adèle Kirsten believes the police should separate crime in their statistics according to which weapons are used when committing the crime. She said the last time the police gave a breakdown of whether guns‚ sharp force instruments such as bottles and knives‚ or blunt force instruments such as bricks and knobkerries were used‚ was in 2000.
"The weapon type is really critical‚ because it tells us where you need to intervene."
Kirsten said that other sources such as data from mortuaries and StatsSA triangulate and check the accuracy of the police's crime statistics.
GFSA praised the police for recovering an additional 1‚362 illegal firearms and rounds of ammunition in 2016/17.
"Gun Free South Africa is concerned that this 9% improvement is due to the greater availability of guns‚ instead of improvements in policing.”