The increasing murder rate in South Africa has left the country's police minister comparing the nation to a "war zone."
Exceeding their already high murder rate, South Africa is experiencing a reported 57 murders a day. In just 12 months, more than 20,300 people have been killed in total. The country's murder rate has increased the past six consecutive years.
"Many murders were linked to gang violence in Western Cape province, whose capital is Cape Town," said a report from The Daily Mail. "The numbers reflect a 6.9 percent year-on-year increase, one of the highest per capita since the end of apartheid 24 years ago."
Police Minister Bheki Cele told reporters, "Fifty-seven a day, that's how South Africans are murdered. It borders close to the war zone while there is a peace, there is no war in South Africa."
"The figures that always scare me are murder figures," Cele continued. "South Africans must not take it as a norm that they can be hijacked, robbed and killed every day. We have to pick up the ball and change the situation for the better," he added.
A leader of the police oversight committee, Francois Beukman, called the murder rate "alarming and totally unacceptable."
The massive jump in crime and murder comes in unstable times. The South African government has officially begun the process of "redistributing" white farmers' land to poor blacks to allegedly right past racial injustices.
Last month, The Washington Times reported that officials began seizing white-owned land by "filing legal papers seeking to expropriate two farms for one-tenth of their estimated value."
"The filings, involving two game farms in the northern province of Limpopo, come as the African National Congress government is seeking to amend the country’s constitution to allow outright seizures of land with no compensation. The ANC’s leader also has recently argued that pure expropriation is allowed anyway now 'in the public interest,'" said the report.
But there have reportedly been murders of white South African farmers for some time now in the volatile country, allegedly with complicity from South African authorities.
"Activists say South African authorities are tacitly approving attacks on the country’s white farmers, with one being murdered every five days, and the police turning a blind eye to the violence," said a report from Newsweek, published in May. "The white nationalist lobbying group AfriForum says that when lawmakers passed a motion last month which could see land being seized from farmers without compensation, it sent a message that landowners could be attacked with impunity," added the report.
"Our rural areas are trapped in a crime war. Although the South African government denies that a violence crisis is staring rural areas in the face, the numbers prove that excessive violence plague these areas," said AfriForum’s Head of Safety Ian Cameron.