Action Society believes that the National Council on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Bill does not adequately address the root causes of GBVF and lacks robust measures to ensure transparency, accountability, and competency in the Council.
Action Society today formally submitted its submission on this bill which aims to establish a GBVF Council.
“Through our experience on the ground, our interactions with victims and stakeholders, and our ongoing efforts to study and understand the complex societal dynamics underpinning GBVF, we have developed several concerns regarding the bill in its current form,” said Ian Cameron, Director of Community Safety at Action Society. “We are concerned about the bill’s capacity to address the entrenched issues within the South African Police Service, including corruption, inefficiency, and the significant backlog in DNA analysis that impedes the effective investigation and prosecution of GBVF cases.”
The proposed Council may not be able to adequately address the broader issues within the South African Police Force (SAPS), as it does not have a clear mandate or mechanism to do so. There is a range of issues which need to be addressed, such as the current police-to-population ratio, resource shortages, delays in the DNA system, lack of training, poor condition of police stations, and shortage of rape kits, all of which are contributing to an extremely high withdrawal rate of GBVF cases. To make a meaningful difference, the proposed Council must have the authority to address these issues through increased funding, improved training, and the provision of necessary resources, as well as look into the root causes of GBV in our society and ensure competence and integrity in its decisions and actions. Furthermore, it must have the power to address the backlog in DNA analysis and expedite justice processes.
Therefore, Action Society proposes the bill address the root causes of gender-based violence and ensure the council’s competence and integrity by mandating specific qualifications and a code of conduct. In addition, it should strengthen the police through training, resources, and reforms. Finally, it should empower and resource the Council to address the DNA analysis backlog by collaborating with other relevant agencies.
See the submission at this link.