PRETORIA– Tuberculosis (TB) continues to be the leading cause of death among black South Africans while most whites die of heart diseases and diabetes is the leading cause of death for coloured people and Indian, according to the latest data.

Tuberculosis remains the number one killer disease in South Africa, followed by diabetes, according to the Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) 2016 mortality and cause of death report released here Tuesday. HIV is the third leading cause of deaths in men while it ranks sixth among women.

TB remains an underlying leading cause of death for males, accounting for 7.6 per cent, and for females TB is a lot lower as opposed to men. It ranks at position number five. The leading cause of death for females is diabetes. But when we look at men, diabetes is sitting at position number six, Statistician General Risenga Maluleke said here Tuesday.

In 2016, a total of 456,612 deaths occurred, marking a decline of 3.5 per cent from the 473,266 death occurrences for 2015 which have been updated for late registration, the report indicated.

It says that mortalit, overall now occurs at older ages for both sexes, which is an indication of a decline in premature mortality.

In 2016, male deaths peaked at age group 60-64 years (8.6 per cent), while female deaths peaked at a much older age group (75-79 years [8.3 per cent]).

StatsSA said most 2016 death occurrences occurred in the most populous provinces — Gauteng (21.3 per cent) and KwaZulu-Natal (18.6 per cent).

It is worth noting that a high proportion of deaths continue to occur at home instead of health care facilities and this may impact on the accuracy of the certification of causes of deaths, it added.

The report shows that based on provincial differentials diabetes mellitus in Western Cape Province, other forms of heart diseases in Gauteng and influenza and pneumonia in Limpopo Province were the leading underlying natural causes. For the rest of the provinces tuberculosis was the top-ranked natural cause.