Cele sets a target on GBV in SA’s hotspots

Troubled areas to get dedicated desks at police stations

22 September 2020 - 20:09 By mpumzi zuzile
Police minister Bheki Cele puts his foot down GBV.
Hat's enough Police minister Bheki Cele puts his foot down GBV.

Dedicated desks at police stations in the gender-based violence hotspots will go a long way in ensuring victims are assisted in the correct, professional way.

Speaking at a briefing on Tuesday afternoon, Cele described GBV as a second pandemic that had reached crisis levels in the country. He identified 30 hotspots for gender-based violence in SA that would get special attention.

Cele described GBV as a societal evil that must be contained at all costs.

“The dedicated desk will reduce the risk of ill-treatment at the hands of officers, as we have seen in some instances. These permanent desks should not be limited to the hotspots areas only but should be a norm at all stations,” he said.

He revealed that only 130 of the 4,058 people arrested for alleged gender-based violence since the announcement of the lockdown in March had been convicted, which translated into a conviction rate of only 3%.

Gauteng recorded the most cases at 743 with 1,173 arrests. This was followed by the Western Cape with 534 cases and 1,093 arrests, the Eastern Cape with 243 cases and 488 arrests, and KwaZulu-Natal with 230 cases and 375 arrests.

Cele said following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s pronouncements around gender-based violence, it was still rife under lockdown.

“The work of the interministerial committee on GBV continues. As a member of this [committee], in our efforts to drill down to community and district level in our response to GBV, government has pinned down 30 GBV hotspots,” he said.

The 30 GBV hotspots are:

Mamelodi East
Mitchells Plain
Orange Farm

He said the list was compiled based on nine key variables, including the number of cases reported to the SAPS during the 2019/20 financial year. These cases included:

  • rape;
  • human trafficking for sexual offences;
  • kidnapping for sexual offences; and
  • domestic-related human trafficking.

“Figures of reported domestic violence-related cases of murder, rape attempted murder and assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm were also considered when compiling this list,” he said.

“Data was also included from victim support services, such as Thuthuzela Centres, health facilities and other data from other departments that paint a picture of GBV in a particular area.”

The minister said as part of the police integrated sexual offences and GBV action plan, there were proactive measures with short-, medium- to long-term time frames.

“GBV remains a priority crime for the SAPS. As a prevention measure, the SAPS will also continue to have a sustained public awareness and community-based campaigns at the identified areas on GBV.”

Cele also said he was shocked and disgusted by the blatant disregard of lockdown rules by some liquor outlet owners in the name of profit.

He said during a joint police operation in Ekurhuleni, they came across several shebeens and taverns operating way past the stipulated 10pm curfew under alert level 2.

Level 1, which moves the curfew from midnight to 4am, began on Monday.

“More disturbing was the practice of some liquor outlets squeezing patrons inside their venues with shut windows and doors. This is done to look as if the business is closed for the night. Meanwhile, drinking and socialising in the confined space is ongoing until the early hours of the morning,” said Cele.

Establishments in other parts of the country were also undertaking illegal practices that were putting money before people’s health, he said.

“I also know that it is not only taverns that are breaking the rules. Some restaurants and eateries are also flouting the rules, putting their customers at risk of infections.”

He reminded business owners who insisted on bending the rules that the long arm of the law would catch up with them and they would also lose their operating license.

Cele also revealed that since lockdown began in March, 310,494 people had been arrested and charged with contraventions of the Disaster Management Act.

“These violations range from liquor, transport and business and cross-border-related offences,” he said.

The Western Cape recorded the most arrests with 72,137, followed by Gauteng with about 59,000.

Cele reminded the public that while social gatherings such as concerts and live performances were permitted, nightclubs still had to remain closed.

“No more than 100 mourners can attend a funeral. Night vigils are still not permitted,” he added, before urging communities to be considerate when hosting social gatherings in residential areas.

• Cele said Covid-19 had been hard on the SAPS, infecting 16,539 officers. He said the virus had claimed the lives of 215 men and women in blue.

“I remain encouraged by the high recovery rate. More than 15,000 members have won their battle against the virus and are back to serving their communities,” he said.

LISTEN | Cele sets a target on GBV in SA’s hotspots​

Police minister Bheki Cele on September 22 2020 provided details for a plan to combat gender-based violence (GBV) and femicide in 30 hotspots in South Africa. As a prevention measure, the police will also continue with public-awareness and community-based campaigns in the identified GBV hotspot.