Date: April 21, 2023 Type: Country:

The state must take urgent action to protect the rights to life and security of the person

In response to reports of a family of ten people killed in their Pietermaritzburg home, Shenilla Mohamed, Executive Director of Amnesty International South Africa, said:

“In less than a week, we’ve seen the killing of Loyiso Nkohla in Cape Town, the reported mass murder of ten family members in Pietermaritzburg, and the murder and mutilation of two young boys in Soweto, and these are only the murders that have been widely reported on. According to the latest quarterly crime statistics an average of 82 people are murdered in South Africa every day. No-one is safe here.

“Government continues to fail in its constitutional mandate to create a safe environment for all. The rights to life and security of the person – enshrined in the Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – are violated daily and it must stop.

“The impunity with which killings are carried out is exacerbating the situation and urgent action is needed from the government, including the South African Police Service (SAPS), who have a duty to protect everyone who lives in this country.

“It is the SAPS’s responsibility to conduct thorough, efficient and transparent investigations into all killings, including this most recent mass murder, and ensure that the perpetrators are charged in accordance with the law. We can no longer allow horrendous crimes to continue with impunity, the justice system must begin to act as a deterrent,” Shenilla Mohamed added.

“Gun-related violence threatens our most fundamental human right – the right to life. Easy access to firearms, whether legal or illegal, is one of the main drivers of gun violence. Sometimes, the mere presence of firearms can make some feel threatened and fearful for their lives. People must be able to live their lives fully, freely and without fear.”


According to the Institute of Security Studies (ISS), multiple murders are incidents of violence in which two or more people are killed. The ISS has calculated that the number of incidents in which three or more people were killed in 2022 was 140% higher than in 2019/20. According to Gun Free South Africa, a big driver of rising multiple murders is the increased use of firearms.

Minister of Police Bheki Cele released figures on mass murders on 27 March 2023 in response to a question in Parliament. According to these figures, 5,709 people were killed in 2,446 multiple murder incidents between April 2019 and December 2022. 


For more information or to request an interview, please contact:

Mienke Mari Steytler, Media and Communications Officer (Maternity Cover), Amnesty International South Africa: +27 (0) 64 890 9224;

Public Document

Amnesty International South Africa office, 97 Oxford Road, Saxonwold, Johannesburg, 2196