One 'No Bail' petition started in South Africa every 5 days

Illustration photo by Getty Images
Illustration photo by Getty Images
  • When this year’s 16 Days of Activism Against GBVF began, ran a search on the number of GBVF-related petitions opposing perpetrators’ bail applications.
  • It found that one 'No Bail' Petition started every five days, and only a few ended in success.
  • Lee-Anne Germanos, a senior campaigner at South Africa, writes about what the organisation knows. 

As the world’s largest online petitions platform, when this year’s 16 Days of Activism Against GBVF (gender-based violence and femicide) began, we searched the number of GBVF-related petitions to oppose perpetrators’ bail applications on South Africa.

In one year - from the first day of 2021’s 16 Days of Activism to the beginning of this one - 67 petitions calling either for no bail against a GBVF perpetrator or justice for a victim/survivor were started on our platform.

That is an average of 1 'no bail' or 'Justice for' petition every 5 days. With 43% of these petitions involving child victims and the remaining 57% involving womxn.  

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We had to ask ourselves, has the justice system failed victims of GBVF so much that they and their families have resorted to starting petitions to get justice? What we have surmised from these 67 petitions is that South Africans do not, in fact, trust the criminal justice system to vindicate them and are turning to mediums such as petitions as a way of raising their voices and having them heard. 

In one year, we have had 'Justice for' Sithelo, Namhla, the Children of Melkbosstrand, Thabang, Nolundi, Kimeera, Kirti, Candice, Robyn, Abira, Titus, Danielle, Quinisha, Annie, Siphokazi, Baby Jordan, Leona, Jayden, Olwethu, Steven, Maria, Kyle, Ms Mzangwa, Thandeka, Xoli, Siyamthanda, Becca, Jerobejin, Jay, Zanele, Dorah, Rorisang, Nicoleen, Tshiamo, Enhle, Nadine, Jehaan, Baby Caswell, Mercish, Relebogile, Siphesihle and Hannie.

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Of the petitions mentioned above, 2 were declared victories - meaning that the perpetrators were denied bail as a result of the submission of the petitions. It’s worth noting that both of these petitions were supported by the South Africa campaigns team, which assisted the petition starters to raise the signature count on their petitions, and to then hand them over to the prosecuting authority - and subsequently the court - which ultimately influenced the court’s decision on bail. 

One of the two victories was the #JusticeForNolundi campaign. In May 2022, Nolundi was accused by her husband of "bringing another man's jacket to his house." He then proceeded to brutally burn her with boiling water and beat her to a pulp.

Through the assistance of the women in her community, Nolundi was able to open up a charge of assault GBH (Grievous bodily harm) and start a petition against her husband’s bail application - all from her hospital bed. As a result of that petition and the 14 000 people that signed it, Nolundi’s abuser was denied bail.  

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The second victory related to an incident that also took place in May 2022 - this time involving a preschool caretaker, Vumile Manxusa, raping a 6-year-old child in his care. This petition was again started by a community member, on behalf of the child victim’s mother, against Manxusa’s release on bail. The petition was supported by over 13 000 people and handed over to the public prosecutor at the perpetrator’s first bail appearance. In September 2022, the court denied Manxusa bail.

Petitions are a reflection of the public (on whose behalf the State acts), and the court must take into account its opinion on the danger that the accused person poses in a bail hearing. As we see an increase in the effectiveness of 'no bail' petitions, we (fortunately or unfortunately) expect to see an increase in the number of petitions that we add to our ever-growing GBVF Movements Page on

READ MORE | Violence against women is staggeringly high in South Africa 

* Lee-Anne Germanos is a Senior Campaigner at South Africa.

If you're being abused and want to connect with a counsellor, you can contact the following organisations:

• POWA on (011) 642 4345/6 or (011) 591 6800 (available from 8:30 to 16:30 from Monday to Friday) or 076 694 5911. WhatsApp POWA on 060 400 0669 (available from 8:30 to 16:30 from Monday to Sunday). You can also email   

• Contact ADAPT at 011 885 3332 / 011 786 6608 or email    

• Contacts TEARS foundation on *134*7355# (Free) or contact TEARS on 010 590 5920 (24/7)  

• Contact the #GBV Command Centre on 0800 428 428 for counselling services 24/7. 

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