Protection orders for women get boost

Every year - even twice a week like this week - protests take place against gender-based violence but the murder of women continues unabated
Every year - even twice a week like this week - protests take place against gender-based violence but the murder of women continues unabated
Image: Iavan Pijoos/TimesLIVE

“Clearly we have not yet had our George Floyd moment for us to start being serious about our Women’s Lives Matter,” says Advocate Tarisai Mchuchu-MacMillan, the executive director of MOSAIC women’s training service and healing centre in Cape Town.

On Saturday morning, a protest is planned at 11am outside parliament against gender-based violence. On Wednesday, youth marched to parliament to demonstrate against it.

On Monday, a KwaZulu-Natal boy, 17, was arrested for the murder and rape of an 11-year-old girl, who was reported missing on June 14. And on June 12, Altecia Korltjie and her seven-year-old daughter Raynecia were murdered in Cape Town and Ryan Smith, 28, has been charged with their murder.

One week before the double killing, the 27-year-old mother allegedly sought a protection order from the Belville magistrate’s court because she feared for her life, TimesLIVE  has reported. Apparently she was turned away.

The office of the public protector has been asked to investigate these allegations by the deputy justice minister, John Jeffrey, who said he views them “in a serious light”.

This month MOSAIC launched a partnership with SAPS in the Western Cape to help make protection orders work better.

“We can’t see their effectiveness when you look at all the women dying with protection orders in their hands,” she said

Mchuchu said the SAFE pilot project with SAPS aims to link MOSAIC’s social workers to police stations and co-ordinate with the court system, including the clerks and magistrates that deal with domestic violence abuse.

“If Thandeka from Khayelitsha went to court and has a protection order filed in Lingelethu, all the police stations like Lingelethu and Harare, must know this. When Thandeka’s life is in danger then vehicles must be moving and respond.”

MOSAIC has run a court support programme since 1999 but the project is now enhanced further, “to unblock systemic blockages and make the system more responsive”, she said.

While supporting the National Strategic Plan on Gender-Based Violence, released in April, Mchuchu-MacMillan said they wanted a commitment to preventive programmes against gender-based violence for men in the workplace.

“If corporations would allow us into these spaces we could do workshops and create support groups,” she said.

“There is an assumption that unemployed men are the perpetrators of violence, those men sitting at home, yet there are men who are employed, who are entrepreneurs, professional men who are perpetrators.”

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