KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape lead in non-natural deaths, says Stats SA

Cape Town – The Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal had the highest percentage proportion of deaths due to unnatural causes including accidental injury, according to a Statistics SA survey on the leading causes of death pre-Covid-19.

KZN had 13.5% just ahead of the Western Cape which had 13%, while the lowest percentage of deaths due to non-natural causes were observed in Limpopo which had 8.9%.

According to the survey titled “Mortality and causes of death in South Africa: Findings from death notification for 2018” assault was the second most common non-natural cause of death in Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Free State, Gauteng and KZN.

The districts with the highest proportion of deaths due to non-natural causes were OR Tambo district (15.5%) in the Eastern Cape followed closely by uThungulu district (15.3%) in KwaZulu-Natal then City of Cape Town (14.8%) in the Western Cape.

Statistician General Risenga Maluleke said: “The City of Cape Town has constantly been in the top three districts each year where non-natural causes of death are always higher compared to other districts.”

The survey reported that the highest number of deaths that occurred in 2018 were among those aged 65-69 years (8.4%), while the lowest number was observed among those aged 5-9 and 10-14 years (0.6% and 0.8%, respectively).

The top 10 leading underlying natural causes of death in 2018 were: tuberculosis (TB); diabetes and cerebrovascular diseases, which are a group of conditions that includes stroke, aneurysms.

Others listed included blocked arteries; other forms of heart disease; HIV; high blood pressure; influenza and pneumonia; and chronic lower respiratory diseases such as asthma.

Tuberculosis (TB) remained the main leading cause of deaths in the three-year period (2016–2018), although the proportion of deaths due to TB declined during that time from 6.5% in 2016 to 6% in 2018.

Diabetes remained the second leading underlying cause of death between 2016 and 2018, although the proportions of death due to diabetes increased consistently over the three years.

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