Gauteng steps up fight against gender-based violence

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Pretoria – The Gauteng government will ensure that barriers to women reporting abuse are removed, and that women are supported to pursue cases rather than withdrawing charges under pressure, says Premier David Makhura.

Premier Makhura met with the senior management of the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the MEC for Community Safety, Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane, on Wednesday to discuss plans to fight crime in the province, as well as the recent scourge of violence against women and children.

The meeting noted with concern that day-to-day operational statistics indicate that there has been an increase in reported cases of domestic violence and abduction of young girls. There has also been a notable trend of brutality in these crimes. 

“It was agreed that the full implementation and compliance of the Domestic Violence Act 116 of 1998; Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Act 23 of 2007; Prevention and Combatting Trafficking in Persons Act 2013 was necessary to end violence against women and children,” the Premier said.

Gauteng will be a lead province in law reform, targeting areas in law that are detrimental for victims.

The provincial government has undertaken to work and engage with its partners in the criminal justice system value chain to ensure that it is not easy to withdraw domestic violence cases because withdrawing cases perpetuates the cycle of violence. 

It was noted that the withdrawal of domestic violence case should only be done by a magistrate, similar to withdrawing a sexual offences case. 

Toll-free line for whistle blowers, support for victims

Some of the plans that the provincial government will undertake to curb the escalation of violence against women include establishing a toll-free line for whistle blowing.

Going forward, the meeting agreed that there must be a strong visibility of trained victim supporters, with clearly marked clothing at all Gauteng police stations.

The victim supporters will provide the necessary privacy to allow women to report their cases in a free environment.  

The SAPS has made a commitment to re-establish specialised units such as the murder, robbery and narcotics units and strengthen the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences and Taxi Task Teams.

Other interventions include putting measures in place to allow asylum seekers to register and report at police stations. 

Premier Makhura said the provincial government would ensure that all regions in the province have Sexual Offences Courts, as well as Municipal Courts to deal with by-laws.

“We will also engage with Crime Intelligence to ensure that we strengthen the evidence based crime investigation and prosecution. The brutality and cruelty meted out to women is unacceptable and has no place in our province,” said Premier Makhura. 

Student safety

At the meeting with vice-chancellors of institutions of higher learning in the province, they raised issues around student safety, especially for young women who are most vulnerable, as they are often targeted by criminals. The vice-chancellors requested police intervention in this regard.

Premier Makhura undertook to discuss the issue with the police in order for measures to be taken to ensure security is strengthened at all campuses in the province. – SAnews.gov.za

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