The Natal Monitor is a University of Natal-based violence monitoring project, which has its roots in social science research on political violence carried out from the mid 1980s.
From 1989 summaries were produced on a regular basis, and disseminated to the media, diplomats, politicians and other interested parties. These summaries sought to inform the public about the nature and extent of political violence in the province in a context in which very little coverage, especially of an in-depth nature, was provided by the media. In the past nine years a political transformation has taken place, and patterns of violence have changed. An unacceptably high level of violent crime – which is not a new phenomenon – has become a national preoccupation. Despite multiparty elections in 1994 political violence has continued in KwaZulu-Natal, albeit to a lesser extent during the past two years, and the province is far from stable. Violence against women and children tears at the fabric of social life in the country. The Natal Monitor continues to produce regular (every two to three months) summaries and analyses of politically-linked violence in KZN. It is broadening somewhat in scope its focus to include comment on crime in general, especially in areas which receive little media attention, such as rural communities. Whilst minimal numbers of people killed or injured may be cited, where available, the Monitor cautions against a reliance on statistics as reflecting an accurate picture of what is actually happening – one reason being the unavailability of accurate data on crimes of violence. Its primary emphasis is on interpreting events in the socio-political context in which they are taking place in order to provide a holistic understanding of the dynamics of violence in the province. The Monitor will also continue to place under the spotlight the activities of the security forces in the province, especially as they infringe on basic human rights.
Please note, that the Natal Violence Monitor is a totally independent body, and is in no way aligned to any political party, or governmental organization.