NATIONAL NEWS - Assault was the second most common non-natural cause of death in Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Free State, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, with the highest percentage being in Eastern Cape, responsible for 22.7% of deaths.
This is according to a Stats SA report, Mortality and causes of death in South Africa: Findings from death notification for 2018, released on Tuesday.
The most number of deaths from assault (20%) occurred in Gauteng, followed by KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape, each comprising 18.7% and 14.8%, respectively.
The lowest percentage of deaths occurred in Northern Cape (3.1%).
Men had higher proportions of deaths due to non-natural causes compared to women, with a wider difference observed at age group 15-29, where 58.1% of male deaths resulted from non-natural causes, compared to 19.8% of female deaths in the same age group.
Deaths due to non-natural causes were mainly dominated by those due to other external causes of accidental injury (68.3%) followed by assault (14%) while there were 11.4% non-natural deaths due to transport accidents, said the report.
In total, KwaZulu-Natal had the highest proportion of deaths due to non-natural causes (13.5%), followed closely by the Western Cape (13%).
Car accidents were the second-most common cause of non-natural deaths in Limpopo, Northern Cape, North West and Mpumalanga, with Limpopo having the highest number of deaths due to this cause, responsible for 30.1% of deaths.
KwaZulu-Natal (13.5%) and Western Cape (13%) had the highest proportion of deaths due to non-natural causes, while the lowest percentage of deaths due to non-natural causes were recorded in Limpopo (8.9%).
“From 2010 to 2018, a consistent increase in the proportions of deaths due to non-natural causes was noted from 9% in 2010 to 11.9% in 2018. The age groups mostly affected by non-natural causes of death in 2018 were age group 20-24 years and 15-19, accounting for 49.2% and 42.5%, respectively,” said the report.
Top 10 leading causes of death
The top 10 leading underlying natural causes of death in 2018 were tuberculosis (TB), diabetes mellitus, cerebrovascular diseases, other forms of heart disease, HIV, hypertensive diseases, influenza and pneumonia, Ischaemic heart diseases, chronic lower respiratory diseases and malignant neoplasms of digestive organs.
TB was the leading cause of death in the three-year period (2016-18), though deaths due to TB declined in the three-year period from 6.5% in 2016 to 6% in 2018.
Diabetes mellitus remained the second leading underlying cause of death in the three-year period. The top 10 underlying natural causes of death represented nearly 44% of all deaths in 2018.
According to the report, the total number of deaths registered at the Department of Home Affairs and processed by Stats SA in 2018 were 454,014.
Between 1997 and 2018, there were more male than female deaths from age 0 to age group 65-69; whereas female deaths consistently exceeded male deaths for ages 70 years and above.
Read the full report.