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By Cheryl Kahla

Content Strategist

GBV in SA: Thousands arrested, 696 jailed, but is it enough, Masemola?

South Africa's femicide rate is five times higher than the global average.

During a media briefing on Friday, Police Commissioner General Fannie Masemola called on the public to work with officials and report cases of gender-based violence (GBV) timeously.

Masemola was sharing a progress report with regard to measures put in place for preventing crime over the festive season.

Gender-based violence in SA

Reporting cases of GBV and femicide will “ensure all perpetrators are brought before the courts to face the full might of the law”, Masemola said.

SAPS’ efforts to combat GBV

He said reporting incidents timeously “saves more lives, and it’s also among the top priorities” of the South African Police Service (Saps).

Masemola said investigating GBV cases and the tracing of wanted perpetrators “is ongoing and the unit continues to intensify its efforts”.

Some of these efforts also include “educating communities on services that are available to them”.

GBV-related arrests

The police task teams have had some success, too.

According to Masemola, 7 926 perpetrators had been arrested and charged thanks to the efforts of the 176 Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) units and the 9 Serial and Electronic Crime Investigations (SECI) units.

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But is it enough?

Praise where it’s due, sure, but let’s not forget more than 120 000 GBV cases were recorded during in the first three weeks of the Covid-19 lockdown.

In addition, South Africa’s femicide rate is five times higher than the global average – 12.1 out of every 100 000 women are victims of femicide each year, as per the World Health Organization.

More concerning are the thousands of cases never reported, never making headlines.

GBV-related imprisonments

Meanwhile, Masemola said 696 perpetrators have already been convicted and sentenced. Combined, they will serve a total of 7 773 years behind bars.

Masemola said: “Of the 696 perpetrators, 114 of them were handed down 192 life imprisonment sentences”.

The key highlights of convictions during these reporting period include the sentencing of the following perpetrators:

  • In Gauteng, 37-year-old Asha Moyo was sentenced to 21 x life and an additional 206 years imprisonment for 15 counts of rape, robbery and pointing of firearm.
  • In Limpopo, 24-year-old Tshitshikawe Divhuwo was sentenced to life in prison and an additional 207 years imprisonment for rape and kidnapping.
  • Also in Limpopo, 30-year-old Jafta Makamu was sentenced to 75 years imprisonment for three counts of rape.

When police are the perpetrators

Four days before Masemola’s briefing, a woman from Pietermaritzburg was allegedly raped by a police officer in a holding cell after she was arrested and detained over the weekend.

She alleges that a police officer came into the holding cells and raped her twice.

A police source told The Witness that the woman reported the matter on Sunday morning; the officer had not been arrested at the time of publishing on 5 December.