56 people killed a day in 'war zone' South Africa

20,336 murders recorded in South Africa in one year –Police

'The police dropped the ball' – Cele on 'war zone' crime stats

South Africa is known internationally for its violent crime, but annual statistics are often disputed, especially rape figures.

South African police say a man with a knife fatally stabbed two people and wounded several others at a mosque near Cape Town before police shot and killed the attacker.

South Africa's murder rate rose again past year, official statistics showed Tuesday, with over 20,000 people killed across the country - about 57 a day - as police admitted they were struggling to keep control.

On average 56 people were killed a day in South Africa in the 12 months to March this year, an increase of 30 per cent in the past six years, officials said. "And there is no war in South Africa", Police Minister Bheki Cele told lawmakers in Cape Town.

Western Cape police stations recorded the highest number of murder reports‚ followed by those in Gauteng.

Kraaifontein recorded the biggest jump with a staggering 31% increase in murders. We have to pick up the ball and change the situation for the better'.

Lawmaker Francois Beukman, who heads the police oversight committee in parliament, described the numbers as "alarming and totally unacceptable".

The stats also show how nearly all gang-related murders in South Africa were recorded in the Western Cape.

Several factors contributed to the increase, these include mob justice, revenge attacks, taxi violence, illegal mining, hostel killings, and gang violence. Forty-two of the murders occurred on farms, 15 on small holdings and one at a cattle post.

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