South Africa's murder rate continued to drop in 2011/12, with a 3.1% decrease following on the previous year's 6.5% decrease, the country's annual crime statistics reveal.
Releasing the national statistics in Cape Town on Thursday, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said he was encouraged to see yet another decrease in the country's murder ratio.
There was also a decline in "contact crimes", or "crimes against the person", between 1 April 2011 and 31 March 2012, Mthethwa reported.
Seven categories of serious crime - murder, attempted murder, sexual offences, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, common assault, aggravated robbery and common robbery - are grouped together as contact crimes.
All seven types of contact crime saw a decline in 2011/12, while contact crimes overall decreased by 3.5%.
Attempted murder was down by 5.2%, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm was down by 4.2%, while common assault decreased by 3.4%.
Sexual offences decreased by 3.7%, while rape was down by 1.9%. However, Mthethwa said these figures remained unacceptably high.
"One area that remains stubbornly high is around sexual offences," Mthethwa told journalists. "The decrease should be understood in the perspective, that as government we still remain concerned about the conviction rate of criminals who commit such crimes."