Women’s Month: 5 gender-based violence cases that have made headlines in 2022
As SA marks Women’s Month and will commemorate Women’s Day on Tuesday, it continues to battle the scourge of gender-based violence (GBV) and femicide.
President Cyril Ramaphosa labelled GBV the country’s second pandemic at the height of the global health crisis in 2020.
Speaking at the annual conference gala dinner of the SA Chapter of the International Association of Women Judges, Ramaphosa said violence against women and children is a far greater crisis than most health emergencies SA has faced.
“If we were to quantify the impact of GBV in terms of lives destroyed or lost, families torn apart, societies shattered, economic productivity lost and state resources diverted, we would see violence against women and children is a far greater crisis than most health emergencies we have faced.
“Even as we take a step forward in women’s representation and the advancement of women’s rights, GBV takes us many steps back,” he said.
In 2020 the World Health Organisation estimated 12.1 in every 100,000 women in SA are victims of femicide each year. This is five times higher than the global average of 2.6 in every 100,000 women.
While the deaths of dozens of women have made headlines and many women and children have died without making the news, here is a list of five GBV cases so far this year:
The body of 14-year-old Lekhobo was found at the Vryburg cemetery in North West in March.
At the time, the North West department of education said police were investigating the cause of the teenager’s death.
Family members reported they last saw her alive when she left home in the afternoon.
Provincial MEC for education Mmaphefo Matsemela conveyed her condolences to the bereaved familyg: “On behalf of the department l would like to convey our sincere condolences to the bereaved families of our pupil who attended Vryburg Secondary School. The pandemic of GBV against women and children is rife in our communities. We hope police will find those responsible for her death.”
In May the country woke up to the shocking news of Gardee’s death. The daughter of former EFF secretary-general Godrich Gardee was found murdered, with visible wounds to her head.
Her body was found next to a pine plantation 40km outside Mbombela in Mpumalanga on May 2. She was kidnapped in the town on April 29 while travelling home with her adopted three-year-old daughter
Sipho Lawrence Mkhatshwa, 39, Philemon Lukhele, 47, and Mduzuzi Gama, 52, are charged with murder, rape, conspiracy to commit murder, kidnapping, defeating the ends of justice and possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.
Mtwa was shot nine times in her driveway in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape on April 21 as she arrived home from work.
On social media her ' sister Sanga Nozintathu Mtwa appealed for justice, alleging her sister was in an abusive relationship with her long-term partner of 17 years, and shared photos showing the violence she allegedly endured during the relationship.
Provincial police commissioner Lt-Gen Nomthetheleli Lillian Mene asked anyone with information to come forward.
“Members of the family and the public are assured the case is in the hands of capable and professionally trained detectives. With the support and response demonstrated by the community and formations in every corner of our province and outside its borders, we are optimistic a breakthrough will be made.
“An appeal is made that whoever possesses critical information that will add value to the work of the investigating team and lead to the arrest of the suspect should please share it with the lead investigator,” Mene said.
Two grade 12 teens
Two grade 12 pupils were recently hacked to death before their bodies were dismembered on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast.
The provincial department of social development said a man in his 20s, who was apprehended for the killings, tried to evade arrest by jumping into a river. He was later located and arrested.
“Two schoolgirls were allegedly attacked with an axe while in their rented house in Ngwangwane village, Ward 8 Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma local municipality, southern KwaZulu-Natal. It is alleged a man in his 20s came into the rented house in the early hours, hacked the girls to death and dismembered their bodies.
Gang rapes of eight women
More than 130 men were arrested, mostly illegal miners, after eight women were raped last month at a mine dump in West Village, Gauteng
Brig Brenda Muridili, Gauteng police spokesperson, said they have led multiple operations in efforts to clamp down on zama zamas and disrupt their operations.
“The team has arrested 30 undocumented persons, bringing the total number to more than 130 suspects arrested since the province’s high level operations started on July 29.
“The operations were intensified in the West Rand district following an alleged incident of gang rape and armed robbery on July 28. The operations will be conducted continuously to ensure the areas where illegal mining activities are prevalent are stabilised,” Muridili said.
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