After six months in which police seemingly got a grip on murders in the Western Cape, the latest quarterly crime statistics have shown an increase of more than 10%.
Between January and March, murders dropped year-on-year by 14%. Between April and June, they dropped year-on-year by 5.5%.
However, in the latest quarterly crime statistics for the province, announced by Western Cape commissioner Lieutenant-General Thembisile Patekile on Monday, murders increased year-on-year by 10.9% between July and September.
During the three months, there were 1 164 murders recorded in the province.
Attempted murders also increased year-on-year, by 19.2%, with 1 094 cases reported over the three-month period.
Patekile described the quarter between July and September as a "challenging three months".
"We soldier on in an effort to reduce serious violent crime," he added.
"Gang violence is a thorn in the side of the Western Cape."
Patekile said that among the interventions planned for the police precincts with the highest number of murders were focused deployments, increased staffing, and capacitation like the Anti-Gang Unit.
Police Oversight and Community Safety MEC Reagen Allen said that in the first six months of the year, the number of murders in the province had decreased. He added that a double-digit increase was "deeply disappointing".
The precincts that recorded the highest number of murders are Delft with 80 cases, Mfuleni with 72, Nyanga with 71, Harare with 64, and Gugulethu with 56.
All of them featured in the top 10 precincts nationally with the highest murder rates.
While the majority of murders in the province were due to arguments, misunderstandings and provocation (21.7%), 19.4% were gang related.
There were also several multiple murders in the province, although Patekile said this type of murder appeared to have "abated" over the reporting period.
According to the latest quarterly crime statistics, 131 people were killed in 57 cases. Of those, there were three occasions when five people had been killed in one incident.
In two of these, both of which had taken place in Gugulethu, the motive was identified as "assassination".
Western Cape Community Policing Forum chairperson (CPF) Francina Lukas said the increase in murder and attempted murder in the province was "a big concern from a community perspective".
"These stats represent real lives that were lost to crime," she said.
Lukas called for a "whole of government approach" to deal with crime, as well as social interventions such as addressing truancy, providing recreational facilities, and increasing employment opportunities.