Increases in violent crime and protests have resulted in South Africa sliding down 14 places on the Global Peace Index.
The index, a product of the Australian Institute for Economics and Peace, said violence cost South Africa $66.7-billion, or $1258 for each citizen.
This costing in part takes into account the cost of security and homicides.
The cost of violence to the South African economy, says the index, is the 21st-highest in the world and the 43rd-highest per capita.
The worst-preforming country listed in the Global Peace Index was war-torn Syria; the best was Iceland.
South Africa this year was ranked at 136 among 162 countries.
Over the past eight years South Africa’s position in the index has deteriorated by 12% because of growing “internal conflict, political terror and violent demonstrations”.
Last year South Africa was ranked 122nd.
“We have seen increases in violent crime over the past two years, and community protests have increased by over 90% in the past five years,” said Johan Burger, a researcher at the Institute for Security Studies. He blamed poor political and institutional leadership for the increase in violence.
But it is not just South Africa that is suffering.
The index estimated that the effect of violence on the global economy had reached $14.3-trillion, or 13.4% of global GDP, last year. The rise had been driven by increases in the intensity of armed conflicts and the growth of terrorism.
The number of people killed in conflicts had risen more than 3.5 times from the 49000 in 2010 to 180000 in 2014.
Deaths attributable to terrorism in 2014 had grown by 9% to an estimated 20 000.
Terrorist activity had spilt into sub-Saharan Africa, in particular Nigeria, Cameroon and Niger.
“Reducing conflict is a crucial plank in ensuring continued world economic recovery. If global violence were to decrease by 10% uniformly, $1.43-trillion would be added to the world economy.
“This is more than six times the value of Greece’s bailout and loans from the IMF, ECB and other Eurozone countries combined,” Steve Killelea, Founder of the Institute for Economics and Peace, said.
By: SHAUN SMILLIE