South African police crime statistics show the rate of violent crimes has increased for the third year in a row.

Announcing the annual crime statistics on Tuesday, Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko said the rate of contact crimes increased, with murder rising by 4.6 percent.

Nhleko said the statistics show that violence has become a characteristic of South African society.

The official opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, said in a statement that the statistics show that 49 South Africans are murdered each day which it said is unacceptably high for a country not at war.

Gareth Newham, a researcher for the Institute of Security Studies, said the consistent increase of violent and organized crime is a sign that South African police do not have a clear strategy to deal with crime.