16 Days of Activism: ‘Our constitution protects criminals more than law-abiding citizens’
From April to June, 855 women and 243 children were killed in SA.
Students protest against gender based violence (GBV) at parliament in Cape Town. Photo: Gallo Images/Nardus Engelbrecht
The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children is once again in full swing. But come 10 December, when the campaign ends, the situation will be the same or worse.
Lawlessness continues to grip South Africa and crime statistics are rising each year.
Practical measures with meaningful impact
It’s time for government to not only extend the period of crime initiatives but to also put practical measures in place which make a meaningful impact.
Past experiences have shown that 16 days of marching and talking do not scare the brazen and heartless criminals and perpetrators of violence.
Latest crime statistics paint a ‘grim’ picture
The latest crime statistics – which were released last week by Police Minister Bheki Cele – painted a grim picture of a country losing its battle against crime and gender-based violence (GBV).
Violent crimes committed against women and children recorded alarmingly high and unacceptable levels.
From April to June, 855 women and 243 children were killed in SA. Over 11 000 assault grievous bodily harm cases with female victims, were opened with the police. About 1 670 such cases involved children.
Between July and September, there were 7 004 murders, an increase of 841 from the same period in 2021, according to crime statistics.
Festive season looming
With the hype for the festive season, no-one is safe from this mayhem – not even the cop shops which are targeted for their firearms. People at taverns have now been spared after recently suffering a spate of attacks.
Now criminals have found easy targets at churches.
Last weekend, members of the Johannesburg Central Seventh-day Adventist Church were robbed at gunpoint while a preacher was at the pulpit.
It was like a scene from a movie when six gunmen entered the church as visitors. They cocked their guns and ordered the preacher to sit down. The men then robbed church members of their cellphones, wallets and offering money. No one was harmed.
A mosque in Johannesburg was also robbed last week during a Friday prayer meeting.
Hospitals may be easy targets
These robbers may next find hospitals to be easy targets.
Our constitution protects criminals more than law-abiding citizens. It’s time our lawmakers do what they have been elected to do – enact laws – when they are in parliament, instead of using the platform to protect corrupt leaders or attack one another.
As a society, we need to assist the police by joining community police forums and be GBV activists who don’t just protest every year in reaction to shocking incidents. We need to be proactive against lawlessness.
We need the government to increase police visibility in our communities and the courts must introduce harsher sentences.
Since GBV and crime is also affecting children, it will be important that government installs education on crime and GBV in the school curriculum. This will ensure the younger generation are taught how to be upstanding citizens.
GBV is everyone’s problem
With 1 651 rape incidents having taken place in public places in the previous quarter, it is proof that GBV and crime shouldn’t be left to the police force alone. It also needs us, as a society, to take bold and active steps of being the ears and eyes of police. This will mean speaking out when such an injustice is taking place.
This might take time, so free counselling to those affected by GBV or crime must be provided at schools, churches, police stations and hospitals.
At the same time, government should intensify its fight against poverty, because it’s one of the main drivers of crime and GBV.
Then the tide against crime will start turning.