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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.

The stats cover the period from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018.

THE crime statistics for the 2017/2018 financial year painted a bleak picture for South Africa.

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

"We are concerned with the one of the biggest increases in murder since the advent of democracy in 1994", Gareth Newman, director for crime and justice programme at the Pretoria-based Institute of Security Studies (ISS) told AFP.

In terms of rape cases reported, figures showed a three per cent hike in the province with incidents going from 7 032 in the previous reporting period to 7 243 in this reporting period - a 211 increase.

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The deadliest place in KwaZulu-Natal is Umlazi, where the murder rate increase by 19.3 per cent. Nyangna in Western Cape took the top spot.

Murder, attempted murder, and sexual offences have all increased. 3,915 women and children were murdered, in total.

"Farm murders had 62 murders and the highest contributing province was Gauteng with 12, followed by North West and Limpopo with nine each", head of police crime research and statistics, Major General Norman Sekhukhune said. This had dropped by 4.9% from the previous period.

He said that the police could not work alone in trying to fight crime.

The question is, he said: "How do we collectively pick up the ball, change the game plan and re-position the police?"