The police minister says South Africa's murder rate fell by 6.5 percent in the past year to 15,940 _ the lowest number since the end of apartheid.
Minister Nathi Mthethwa says the number of reported rapes increased and noted that many such crimes are never reported. Reported rapes went up from 55,097 to 56,272.
Also down are the number of house robberies which declined by 10 percent to 16,889 cases.
Mthethwa spoke Thursday at the release of the latest crime statistics in South Africa, which has one of the highest crimes rates in the world. He said the murder rate has been falling gradually since white rule ended in 1994. Some 27,000 killings were recorded that year, when hundreds died in political violence.
The figures apply to March 2010 to April 2011.