The Democratic Alliance is the only party that has been continuously fighting to eliminate Gender-Based Violence.
Today, I marched with the DA Eastern Cape Provincial Leader Nqaba Bhanga in Makhanda, to highlight the increased violence against women and children in South Africa and handed over a memorandum to members of the Makhanda South African Police Services. See pictures here, here, and here.
The DA’s Shadow Minister of Police, MP Andrew Whitfield, has written to the Minister of Police requesting the urgent prioritisation of the tabling of the Draft Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Bill.
This piece of legislation presents an immediate step that can be taken, by providing the mechanisms needed to ensure repeat offenders are jailed speedily and effectively.
It will allow DNA samples to continue to be taken from offenders convicted in terms of Schedule 8 of the Criminal Procedure Act, which includes sexual offenders.
But there are also other issues that can immediately be addressed:
- The shortage of rape kits at police stations. Without these kits, evidence in reported rape cases cannot be collected. Without evidence, the ability to successfully prosecute rapists diminishes drastically.
- Not all police stations are equipped with sexual assault and rape safe rooms for the victims. Police stations without these facilities need to be capacitated.
- The SAPS also doesn’t have enough specialized units at stations to deal with sexual assault and in many cases women are simply told to go home and sort out their family problems.
South Africa has one of the highest rates of gender-based violence in the world and therefore women are not being provided with the freedom afforded to them in the Constitution.
They are being failed, not only by the men who brutalize and murder them, but also by the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the South African criminal justice system.
The police must do more to protect our women and to make sure that all perpetrators of these crimes are found guilty and sent to jail.
The SAPS must ensure that women and children feel safe, where they work, play and live, and that police stations are regarded as places where their concerns will be taken seriously, their complaints attended to and their safety guaranteed.
Those who commit crimes against women must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Women are in pain. Enough is enough; action must be taken decisively and immediately.