In a reply to a Democratic Alliance (DA) Parliamentary question, the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, revealed that only 130 perpetrators of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) have been convicted since the beginning of the lockdown six months ago. This is only 3% of the total number of individuals who were charged which 4 058.
This is according to a statement by DA Member of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development, Alexandra Abrahams.
“It is beyond question that, as a result of the low conviction rate, the justice system is letting down the victims of GBV by exposing them to potential re-victimisation,” as said in the statement.
Cele’s reply to the DA, provided by DA media, also tabled the number of convicted individuals per province.
Eastern Cape – 8, Free State – 18, Gauteng – 23, Kwazulu-Natal – 4, Limpopo – 31, Mpumalanga – 7, North West – 3, Northern Cape – 1, and Western Cape – 35 convictions. Number of convictions in the nine provinces total to 130.
The DA said they will submit follow up questions to Minister Cele to provide clarity on the status of the cases of the 3 928 perpetrators of GBV who were charged but not convicted and what is being done to provide protection for the victims whose abusers are yet to be convicted.
The party said that the three bills that were introduced top tackle GBV and femicide are welcomed. Namely, the Criminal and Related Matters Bill, the Domestic Violence Amendment Bill and the Criminal law (sexual offences related matters) Amendment Bill.
The Department of Social Development also introduced the Victim Services Support Bill. The bill aims to bring victims to the centre of the justice system in order to ensure that the rights applicable to a perpetrator are also extended to a victim.
“As members of the Social Development committee we were nonetheless shocked to learn that budget cuts for the department were imminent and that this would impact implementation of legislation,” as said in the statement.
The DA believes that the South African justice system needs urgent reforms to change the trend and ensure adequate protections for victims and that the government “has to match its words with actions on GBV by ensuring that adequate funding is made available to eliminate the scourge.”
By Bongekile Khumalo