Avatar photo

By Citizen Reporter


Gender based violence in SA remains a difficult issue to tackle

Dr Nthabiseng Moleko highlighted that various obstacles are standing in the way of preventing and prosecuting gender-based crime.

Gender based violence in South Africa continues to be a worrying scourge. This has also led to Action Society calling for heads to roll at the South African Police Service (SAPS).

According to Action Society’s Ian Cameron, the recent report by the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) on the police’s readiness to handle such crime, reflects exactly what they face on the ground.

“It is a shocking stain on the already tainted reputation of the government and the minister of police,” Cameron said.

The CGE inaugural Biannual SAPS Report indicated that only 17 of the 81 targets (over 22 departments) set in the government’s Emergency Response Action Plan (ERAP) have been reached to date.

The deputy chairperson of the CGE, Dr Nthabiseng Moleko, highlighted that various obstacles are standing in the way of preventing and prosecuting gender-based crime. Some of the obstacles include police capacity in dealing with the high number of incidents as well as a shortage of resources, particularly vehicles, phones and computers.

The report further highlighted that South African police stations are having to serve populations far higher than the acceptable world standard of 200 persons per police officer.

For instance in Gauteng, a police station is serving more than 109 000 people and KwaZulu Natal (KZN) more than 62 000. It is not only the provinces in question which are faced with this dilemna, as the CGE report also highlights similar trends in other provinces.

Other obstacles faced by the men and women in blue, include officers resorting to buying their own equipment in many cases.

GBV coordinators, in some cases, don’t have dedicated spaces or the equipment needed to do their work, while the delays in the DNA system remains a serious challenge.

Forensic and DNA evidence take between five months and three years, leading to high withdrawals and acquittals in most cases.

The report shows evidence of a variation in training between stations in provinces and between provinces.

In Delft – a township on the outskirts of Cape Town, 80% of the staff is untrained in properly handling GBV cases while in Nelspruit, 81% is incapable.

Many stations also do not have victim-friendly rooms, which contributes to secondary trauma.

Moleko said family interference, the length of cases to a successful prosecution, and the overall handling of gender-based crimes, also remained a headache.

“The average conviction rate for GBV cases stands at around 5,3%,” Moleko added

Meanwhile, Cameron agrees with Moleko that one rape is one too many and that something in our national fabric needs to change.

Cameron said citizens should continue to keep government, the police and Minister Bheki Cele accountable, by signing this petition: https://actionsociety.co.za/cele-must-go/