Play your part to prevent violence against women and children

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Cabinet has urged all South African citizens to work together to prevent violence against women and children, support survivors of abuse and bring perpetrators to justice.

“It is the duty of everyone to report those who hurt, exploit and abuse women and children so that the perpetrators can be arrested and convicted,” Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane said during a Post Cabinet briefing in Cape Town on Thursday.

The call comes in the wake of the death of Nonkululeko Mpanza and Nompumelelo Mhlongo in Thokoza, Ekurhuleni; Katlego Joja in Mamelodi, Tshwane; Promise Mthembu in KwaZulu-Natal; and Unisa student Jabulile Nhlapo.

“The most recent cases bring into sharp focus the level of violence that threatens the lives of our women and children. Cabinet expresses its deepest condolences to the families and friends of these women and children,” Mokonyane said.

The Minister said Cabinet continues to strengthen law enforcement agencies in the fight to stop gender based violence. At its last meeting, Cabinet approved the Criminal Procedure Amendment Bill of 2018, which amends the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977.

“The bill will extend the list of sexual offences in respect of prosecution and will allow the sexual cases to go before the courts, even after 20 years. The amendments give effect to the South Gauteng High Court judgment in the Levenstein case,” Mokonyane said.

The case declared Section 18 of the Criminal Procedure Act 51, 1977 inconsistent with the Constitution and invalid to the extent that it bars, in all circumstances, the right to institute a prosecution for all sexual offences, other than those listed in section 18 (f), (h) and (i) of this Act after the lapse of 20 years from the time when the offence was committed.

The amendments will allow the National Prosecuting Authority wider discretion to institute prosecutions in sexual offences in accordance with Chapter 2 of the Constitution.

Mokonyane said the interventions add to a number of measures that government has already put in place. 

These include a total of 54 Thuthuzela Care Centres opened across the country to serve as a one stop facility to reduce secondary victimisation and reduce the time of finalizing sexual cases.

Government has also set up 75 dedicated Sexual Offences Courts to deal decisively with sexual violence against women.

Furthermore, the South African Police Service has established 1 047 dedicated facilities for victims at police stations countrywide to accommodate and assist victims of gender based violence (GBV).

Child Protection Week 

As the country prepares for Child Protection Week, to be observed from 27 May to 2 June 2018, Cabinet called on parents, guardians and communities to work with law enforcement agencies to protect children.

It also reiterated its call to parents to immediately report to the nearest police station, if they suspect that a child is missing.

“We must work together as a peace loving and law abiding society to tackle all crimes against women and children. Cabinet calls on those aware of any crimes against children to contact the toll-free Childline on 0800 055 555 or Crime Stop on 086 0010111.

“If you are a woman in distress or if you are aware of a woman in distress, the GBV Command Centre’s toll-free number is 0800 428 428 or (O800 GBV GBV).” – SAnews.gov.za

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