There should be consequences for all women bashers - Mbalula

2017-08-11 19:27
Police Minister Fikile Mbalula (File, AFP)

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula (File, AFP)

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Johannesburg – Police Minister Fikile Mbalula says he will focus on ensuring police acted on cases of gender-based violence as they had received numerous complaints about how reported cases were handled.

“We need not see bruises to open a case. Each slap in the face is a potential femicide. Each unwanted touching is a potential rape,” he said at the Eldorado Park police station on Friday where he announced a six-point plan for dealing with gender-based violence. While the plan was not new, Mbalula said the focus would be on making sure it was implemented due to complaints from the public.

He said in most cases where women were killed, they had previously reported an assault but it was not investigated, or the victim had withdrawn the case.

“We have a lot of potential victims of murder, rape and domestic violence among us. These are our friends and family,” Mbalula said.

The police ministry has faced criticism for its handling of Deputy Higher Education Minister Mduduzi Manana’s assault case. He only appeared in court on Thursday, after he assaulted a woman, Mandisa Duma, at the Cubana nightclub in Fourways in the early hours of Sunday morning. He was allowed to enter the court through the back door to avoid the glare of the media.

In a recording, Manana admitted to the crime and said he slapped Duma after she called him gay. In a video, other men stand around as Duma is kicked and assaulted.

Also read: VIP police still protecting Mduduzi Manana

“There should be consequences for all perpetrators of gender-based violence,” Mbalula said.  

“Most of the time they are a well known person, but there are no consequences because he has connection.”

The plan states that: 

1.   All victims should be treated with respect, dignity and interviewed by a trained police official in a sensitive manner;
2.   Victims should have their statements taken in a “victim friendly room”;
3.   Victims will be referred to or taken for medical examination to obtain medical evidence and complete a medical report;
4.   The investigation should be conducted by the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Investigation Unit, or a detective with the relevant training;
5.   The families and victims of sexual offences, femicide and infanticide should all be referred to victim support services for legal, medical, social and psychological help and;
6.   Victims should get regular feedback on the progress of their cases.

The plan includes the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities, and will be sent to all police stations. 

"We must not re-humiliate nor re-victimise the victims at our police stations," Mbalula said.

The ministry was in talks with Treasury to ensure there was money to ensure cases were investigated properly and sent to court, and that victims got counselling.

Police were considering making specific mention of gender-based violence cases, including femicide, in their crime statistics. The police ministry would hold a two-day workshop with NGOs and prosecutors next week, to devise a plan to end the scourge. 

Read more on:    saps  |  anc  |  fikile mbalula  |  gender abuse

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