Gauteng notes increase in reported incidents of femicide, gender-based violence

2018-06-08 22:00
Police have to work harder to prevent femicide. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

Police have to work harder to prevent femicide. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

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The Gauteng community and safety department believes it is making inroads in fighting gender-based crimes in the province despite communities being frustrated with the time it takes for cases to be concluded following arrests.

This was according to Yoliswa Makhasi, the head of the Gauteng community and safety department, who addressed the Gauteng community safety committee in the provincial legislature on Friday morning.

"It is common knowledge that for trials within the criminal justice system, turnaround times are poor," she said, adding that this had a "ripple effect".

READ: Alarming rise in femicide

She said turnaround times had been faster in some cases in recent years.

"We wish all cases of femicide and gender-based violence had this kind of turnaround time."

Makhasi said the department had "ring-fenced" 550 cases of gender-based violence in the 2017/2018 year to track them through the system.

Withdrawn cases a concern

Of the 550 cases, 75 resulted in convictions, 68 cases were withdrawn, 35 had fines issued, 21 cases were awaiting sentencing and a staggering 351 cases had an ongoing investigation status.

She said while there had been an improvement in the number of convictions, it was of concern that 68 cases had been withdrawn.

She said the department was engaging with all stakeholders within the criminal justice cluster to ensure femicide and gender-based violence cases were dealt with more effectively.

Makhasi said communities had to understand that there were a range of delays within the criminal justice system - from the time a crime is reported, an arrest is made, there is a conviction and a perpetrator is jailed.

She said the department was proud of its Ikhaya Lethemba programme that has assisted 3 000 women with psychological interventions to prevent them becoming victims of gender-based violence.

"None of the people who have come through our system have become part of the statistics," she said.

Makhasi said another concern for the department was the lack of victim empowerment centres at 59 police stations.

Gauteng MEC for community safety Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane said the department had engaged researchers to understand why there was an increase in gender-based violence and femicide around this period of the year.

She said this time last year the department noted an increase in reported incidents, and it was happening again this year.

Nkosi-Malobane said there had been an increase in reported incidents of femicide and gender-based violence because of the access to social media and awareness campaigns by the department.

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