Johannesburg - Fifty percent of South African businesses have been directly affected by contact crime in the last year, according to Grant Thornton's 2011 International Business Report.
"This figure is still unacceptably high, with half of the survey population being directly affected by crime in the past year," said Leonard Brehm, national chairperson of Grant Thornton on Wednesday.
"The sad conclusion is that crime is still a major problem in South Africa."
Business owners were asked if they, their employees or any of their immediate families had been directly affected by crimes such as road rage, hijackings, personal security threat, violent crime or housebreaking in the last 12 months.
Although 50% said yes, the numbers had decreased, Brehm said.
When Grant Thorton started surveying the impact of crime on South African private businesses in 2007, 84% said they had been affected.
Now, just five years later, the figures were almost 35% lower, he said.
In 2009, 32% of business owners said they were considering leaving the country, while in 2010 it was 18% and in 2011, 17%.
"Overall, though we are encouraged by the fact that there has been an improving trend over the years, the effect and cost of contact crime on business remains appalling," Brehm said.
The political climate was also among some of the reasons why business owners had considered emigrating.
According to the report, 46% cited this as a concern this year compared with 42% in 2010.
Fifty-seven percent of business owners in Gauteng and 62% in the Eastern Cape recorded the highest responses as to whether the political climate was a concern.
The Western Cape had the lowest response with 29%.
Sixty-four percent of business owners in the Western Cape stated that the high crime rate in South Africa was their main reason for considering emigration. This was followed by KwaZulu-Natal with 59%, Gauteng with 54% and Eastern Cape with 46%.