South Africa Security Threats

Data and information about security threats from South Africa’s black market. Intelligence and security information collected from government agencies, news articles and other public data sources.

Statistics released by the United Nation’s’ Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) showed that 1,215 rhinos were killed in South Africa in 2014.

The number of rhinos killed for their rhino horn was a record high.

1,004 rhinos were poached and killed in South Africa in 2013.

668 were killed in 2012.

341 were killed in 2011.

333 were killed in 2010.

122 were killed in 2009.

The rise in poaching of rhinos is due to the high price of rhino horn on the black market. A kilogram of rhino horn is sold for up to $65,000.

(Additional prices of exotic animals and endangered species.)

Source:  Live Science, “Amid Record-Breaking Poaching, Wildlife Experts Seek to Smash a Black Market,” Yahoo News, March 5, 2015.


According to the Southern African Federation Against Copyright Theft, the music industry in South Africa loses up to $45 Million (500 Million South African Rand) each year to pirated music.

The main causes of users downloading music in South Africa is the cheap or free price of the music files and the availability of the music content. Many South Africans also reported that they did not know file sharing was illegal.

The industry lobbying group also stated that organized crime groups are involved in music piracy activities in South Africa.

Source:  “On-going piracy battle in the SA music industry,” SABC, January 25, 2014.

According to the South African Department of Environmental Affairs, a total of 1,004 rhinos were killed by poachers in 2013. The rate of poaching has continued to increase each year.

668 rhinos were killed in South Africa in 2012.

341 rhinos were killed in 2011.

333 rhinos were killed in 2010.

122 rhinos were killed in 2009.

Wildlife protection officials state that the rhinos are killed by poachers for their horns.

(Prices on exotic animals for sale.)

Source:  Christine Dell’Amore, “1,000+ Rhinos Poached in 2013: Highest in Modern History,” National Geographic, January 17, 2014.


The Cape Flats region of South Africa reportedly has one of the highest concentration of crystal meth users in the world, with 10 times the addicts as Johannesburg.

Back in 2004, an estimated 12,000 school children were using crystal meth, or “tik” as it is called in South Africa. By 2009, the number of children using meth increased to 69,00, with public health programs stating the the number is much higher in 2013. In total, an estimated 250,000 people are addicted to crystal meth in the region, out of a total population of 3 million.

(More facts about meth addiction.)

The meth is sold in drinking straws for $3. Users who are addicted are reportedly committing rapes and muggings while high. In one court case, a mother was given a suspended sentence and community service after she killed her son who was addicted to crystal meth. The mother stated that after being beaten, finding stolen goods in her house, and having her curtains set on fire that she simply could no longer deal with her son.

Teenagers armed with pit bulls also attack people in order to pay for their drug habits.

Two thirds of the residents in the region are unemployed, and one-quarter are HIV positive.

(Meth Prices by Country.)

Source:  Fred Bridgland, “South Africa Breaks Bad,” Herald Scotland, November 17, 2013.

On average, criminal justice programs in South Africa record 26 busts of counterfeit goods from entering the country through ports of entry each day.

In 2013, a total of $251 Million (2.6 Billion South African Rand) was seized by security services in South Africa. Among the items seized were replica clothing worth $14.9 Million (155 Million Rand) and pirated DVDs and CDs worth $64 Million (671 Million Rand).

Source:  “South Africa Wages War On Pirated Goods,” Bernama, November 12, 2013.

Nyaope, or Whoonga, is a street drug that is popular in South Africa. The drug is made up of various products, such as marijuana, low-grade heroin, rat poison and HIV-antiretrovirals. The drug is sold on the black market for $30 (30 South African Rand).

Public health programs in South Africa  started noticing  incidents of the drugs beginning in 2007 and have seen a rise in the number of cases. At a single drug treatment center near Johannesburg, 63 people received treatment for nyaope addiction in April 2013. In June, the number of addicts receiving drug treatment increased to 134, and 223 patients were recorded in August 2013.

(Find out how much heroin costs worldwide.)

Source:  “South Africa’s poorest hooked on cocktail of heroin and anti-HIV drugs,” NBC News, October 31, 2013.

In 2013, it was reported that poachers in Zimbabwe used cyanide to kill elephants at a nature reserve. Original estimates by wildlife officials found stated that around 100 elephants died from the poison. After further analysis, the number of elephants killed by cyanide has increased to over 300. Conservation officials state that it is the worst massacre of elephants in Southern African in 25 years.

(All elephant poaching statistics.)

The poachers killed the elephants by lacking water holes and salt licks with cyanide. Once the elephants die, the poachers cut of their ivory tusks. The poachers are able to sell the tusks for $482 (4,750 South African Rand) to cross-border traders in Zimbabwe. The tusks are then smuggled to South Africa, where it can be resold for up to $1,604 (15,800 Rand).

(More black market wildlife trade prices.)

Source:  Daily Telegraph, “Poachers kill 300 Zim elephants with cyanide,” Times Live, October 21, 2013.

All wildlife trafficking information.

In 2013, the global costs associated with cybercrimes against consumers was reported to be $113 Billion, according to a report by computer security firm Symantec.

The average cost per victim of cybercrime was $298, a 50 percent increase from the average costs in 2012. Consumers in the United States had the highest costs associated with cybercrime, with $38 Billion, followed by China with $37 Billion.

According to the report, there are 378 million victims of cybercrimes each year. The highest number of cybercrime victims were found in Russia, China and South Africa.

Nearly half of the consumers surveyed in the report do not use security precausions for their mobile devices, such as passwords, security software or file backups.

57 percent of mobile device users (tablets, smartphones) are unaware that security solutions are available for mobile devices.

Source:  “2013 Norton Report,” Symantec. October 1, 2013.

According to the South African Anti-Phishing service, a total of 1,942 phishing attacks were recorded in the country in the first half of 2012. The financial losses that resulted from the cyber crimes amounted to $7.2 Million (71 Million South African Rand).

A Symantec Intelligence Report in June 2012 found that one in 171 emails sent in South Africa was a phishing attempt.

Source:  “Cyber crime becomes prominent in SA,” ITWeb, September 23, 2013.

As of 2013, there were 337 women from South Africa who were in foreign prisons for drug trafficking crimes, according to data from criminal justice programs.

Source:  Phumia Williams, “Drug mules pay price of abuse,” Pretoria, Opinion, August 6, 2013.