Police Minister Bheki Cele on Friday said the fight against gender-based violence (GBV) remains a priority for the South African Police Service (Saps).
Speaking at the release of the fourth quarter crime statistics in Pretoria, Cele said sexual violence against women in the country was simply shameful and seemingly men and children were not spared from the violence.
Cele said 16,528 incidents of assaults both common and grievous bodily harm were domestic-related, which means the victim and perpetrator knew each other.
The crime stats covered the period from 1 January 2021 to the end of March 2021.
Cele said when it comes to GBV there is no room for complacency, adding that officers “sleeping on the job” must get their act together or will be shipped out.
“Station commanders I urge you to act decisively against substandard service at your stations,” he said.
Cele said while there had been a decline in sexual offences cases, 9,518 people were raped from January to March.
“This is a decrease of 387 cases, amounting to an almost 4% decrease compared to the previous reporting period. A sample of 6,893 of the rape incidents revealed that 4,130 of such incidents took place at the home of the victim or the home of the rapist,” he said.
The Eastern Cape’s Lusikisiki police station recorded the most number of rape, overtaking the Inanda station in Kwazulu-Natal which has had most rape cases for some years.
When it comes to rape kits and the DNA backlog at the SAaps Forensic Science Laboratory, Cele said figures for sexual offences were beginning to show that police were stabilising in this area.
However, Cele said this does not mean police should drop their guards.
He admitted the delays had been severe, but 42% of dockets for crimes committed against women and children that had been outstanding for over a year were now been completed.
“We remain encouraged that rapists can be brought to book through the availability and access to rape kits at all police stations. Moreover, a DNA recovery plan is in place to progressively clear the DNA backlogs experienced at Saps Forensic Science laboratories.
“The nation is assured we are working around the clock to clear the backlog and GBV cases are being prioritised,” he said.
This week, Cele apologised for the DNA testing crisis during a debate in Parliament sponsored by the DA. He said the number of outstanding DNA results was 172,787 in February and dated back as far back as April 2019. The backlog now stands at 208,291.
Cele said Saps was hiring more forensic analysts to work through the testing backlog. He also said eliminating corrupt practices that once plagued the forensic division of the SAPS was a non-negotiable.
“There has been a commitment to tighten the SAPS contract management system and ensure contracts are renewed on time. To ensure we avoid a repeat of these bottlenecks in future, an early warning system to detect any anomalies is being developed.”