Conviction rate for gender-based violence an abysmal 3%
Only 130 of the 4,058 people arrested for alleged gender-based violence (GBV) since the announcement of the lockdown in March have been convicted.
This was revealed by police minister Bheki Cele in reply to a parliamentary question from the DA. This translates to a conviction rate of only 3%.
Cele said 2,234 GBV cases were reported countrywide. Gauteng record the most at 743 (1,173 arrests), followed by the Western Cape with 534 cases and 1,093 arrests, the Eastern Cape with 243 cases and 488 arrests, and KwaZulu-Natal with 230 cases and 375 arrests.
This comes as calls are mounting for Cele to take action against GBV and femicide in SA.
On Monday, social media users using the hashtag #WhereisBhekiCele accused Cele of being silent about what action is being taken to reduce GBV and femicide.
DA MP Alexandra Abrahams said it is beyond question that, as a result of the low conviction rate, the justice system is letting down the victims of GBV by exposing them to potential revictimisation.
Police minister Bheki Cele on September 22 2020 provided details for a plan to combat gender-based violence (GBV) and femicide in 30 hotspots in South Africa. As a prevention measure, the police will also continue with public-awareness and community-based campaigns in the identified GBV hotspot.
She said while the DA welcomes the recent introduction of three bills to tackle the scourge — all of which are still open for public comment — immediate steps must be taken to send a clear message to perpetrators of GBV that their behaviour will not be tolerated.
“We can no longer afford to pay lip service to what is evidently a ‘war’ against defenceless women and children. A low conviction rate for perpetrators of GBV sends out a wrong message which emboldens them to continue with their abusive behaviour,” Abrahams said.
On Wednesday, when President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the country's move to lockdown level 1, he said violence against women and children has continued unabated during the pandemic.
“We are determined to continue with our resolve to deal with the scourge of GBV and femicide,” he said. “Based on the latest data, we have identified 30 hotspots around the country where this problem is most rife.”
Ramaphosa said measures would include the rollout of an integrated and multidisciplinary model that incorporates psychosocial support, case investigation, housing services and economic empowerment for survivors under one roof.
“The Khuseleka One Stop centres expand on the mandate of the existing network of Thuthuzela Care Centres, and are already operational in districts in the North West, Limpopo and the Eastern Cape.
“Work is under way to expand this model of care and support to all provinces.”
The department of social development recently introduced the Victim Services Support Bill which aims to bring victims to the centre of the justice system to ensure the rights applicable to a perpetrator are also extended to a victim.
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