n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Motives for intra-familial murders within the South African Indian community

Special Edition 4
  • ISSN : 1012-8093


This article is motivated by an increase in intra-familial murders and the fact that intra-familial murder within the Indian community has not received much scholarly attention in South Africa compared to sensational journalism. The author notes a gap in the literature on why intra-familial murders are committed within the South African Indian community. The purpose of this study is to analyse the incidents of intra-familial murders committed by people of Indian origin in South Africa, so that motives for the killings may be determined and appropriate social interventions could be found. A focus on the motivating factors is crucial in finding appropriate social interventions to reduce this type of murders in the South African Indian community. The author has, qualitatively, using the case study design obtained data and the views of psychologists and social workers from the media on intra-familial murders in the Indian community. In addition, purposive interviews with criminal investigators and social workers were conducted on the investigation process followed in cases of this nature. All the collected data was descriptively analysed by identifying and categorising the data into themes, categories and storylines. This allowed for an in-depth, open (transparent) and detailed study of categories of information as they emerged from the data. It became clear from the cases reported in the media and the purposive interviews with investigators and social workers that the motives for intra-familial murders within the Indian community include jealousy, greed, revenge, spontaneous aggression and abnormality of mind, arising from existential circumstances such as poor socio-economic conditions, anger and provocation, mental illness, as well as dysfunctional romantic and marital relationships.

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