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Murder, Kidnapping Pose ‘Existential’ Threat to South Africa

  • Organized crime industry expanding rapidly, Geneva group says
  • Illegal activities include extortion, poaching, cable theft
South African Police enforce a perimeter around a crime scene in Soweto on July 10.

South African Police enforce a perimeter around a crime scene in Soweto on July 10.

Photographer: Emmanuel Croset/AFP/Getty Images
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Surging rates of murder, extortion and kidnapping are among signs that crime is posing an “existential” threat to South Africa, according to a report by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime.

The murder rate has risen 38% since 2010, the number of kidnappings for ransom has quadrupled, and there is a 187 billion rand ($10.6 billion) annual impact from infrastructure theft such as the looting of copper-power cables, the Geneva-based group said in a report released on Wednesday. All of these are signs that the state is struggling to contain criminal activity, it said.