Justice Minister Ronald Lamola inaugurated the opening of a new sexual offences court in Sibasa, Limpopo, on Friday.
Attended by officials and residents, the opening, the department said, was part of the government’s commitment to fighting gender-based violence in South Africa.
There are now 93 sexual offences courts in the country.
They are specialised courts that deal with offences such as rape and sexual assault. The department’s aim is to lessen the trauma survivors face when entering the justice system.
They provide special services like speedier trials and counselling. They are also built in such a way that survivors will not have to be in a room with perpetrators during trials.
The department, in a statement on Wednesday, explained the courts “contribute toward the curbing of sexual crimes and 16 more courts are set to be rolled out in the 2019/20 financial year”.
“The sexual offences courts are backed by Thuthuzela care centres, and they continue to yield impressive conviction rates. In the last financial year, it stood at 74.4%.”
The judge president of Limpopo, Ephraim Makgoba who addressed residents during the opening, said: “It is high time that these organised and serious crimes are given special attention.”
Earlier this week, South Africa’s crime statistics, which was released by the police, revealed a daunting reality for South Africans – a 4.6% rise in sexual offences.
Police Minister Bheki Cele told the media his department was in the process of improving the conditions of police stations for victims, which would include overnight care facilities, News24 reported.