Police Minister Bheki Cele said he was disappointed that gender-based violence (GBV) desks have not been established at some Durban police stations.
In an effort to deal with the high rate of GBV cases against women, the police ministry had promised to install gender desks in all police stations across the country. The desks would be run by officers who are trained in victim empowerment, domestic violence, sexual offences and other related programmes to ensure a “victim-centred service” is provided at police stations.
These desks were supposed to be in place by the end of March, but Cele said it now seems unlikely that the deadline will be met.
Cele visited the Durban central and Point police stations for a surprise inspection on Thursday. It was part of a two-day ministers and members of executive council (Minmec) programme in KwaZulu-Natal where the group are visiting police stations with the highest number of contact crimes cases in the province.
Cele said he was also not happy with the high number of police vehicles at the Durban central police station repair shop, as this affected police visibility in the city centre.
During Cele’s visit, Point police had just finished a successful raid which netted drugs and dagga worth over R100 000 in street value.
Cele said police told him there was a serious drug problem in the Durban south beach area.
The purpose of the inspections is to highlight major problems that are impeding police crime-fighting capacity in KZN, said Cele.
He said the police national management is meeting today to discuss a consolidated report on the problems in KZN police stations.
For example, Cele said his department would be engaging with the public works department about the renovation of the Point police station, as its infrastructure was in a dire state.
During a question and answer session with media, Cele said police were dealing with DNA backlogs.
He said police only had four labs across the country, with only a small one in Amanzimtoti.
Cele said the Amanzimtoti laboratory had a problem on the “chemistry side” that deals with the processing of drug and other related samples.
“The volume of the production of DNA in KZN is very low. When it comes to chemistry we have taken some of the laboratory stuff from Durban to Cape Town to increase the production, because there are a lot of machines that are not working in the Amanzimtoti lab,” said Cele.
“The Amanzimtoti lab has been a sore point for us. It has flooded four times.
“As it floods it floods with the machines and the chemicals. We are on the verge of getting a new [lab] in Durban around the stadium.”
However, Cele said all machines are working in the Cape Town laboratory and an extra 20 staff have been hired to clear the backlog of DNA evidence.