SONA 22 – Cyril Ramaphosa fails raped women and children in South Africa.

“The President has once again failed victims of gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF). His dedicated nine sentences about the GBVF pandemic that South Africa faces is nothing more than a repeat of last year’s lip service,” said Kelly Baloyi, spokesperson for Action Society.

Between October 2020 and September 2021 over 41 000 rape cases were reported, amounting to 153 rapes per day.  According to research, only about 10% of actual rape incidents are reported ̶ a clear sign that victims have lost all faith in law enforcement to bring violent perpetrators to justice. In addition to the unprecedented rape statistics, 8 women are murdered every single day.   South Africa’s femicide rate is equal to a country at war, this is becoming the greatest human rights violation of our era,” Baloyi continued.

Since SONA 2021, there seems to be a lot of talk and not enough action in addressing the scourge of GBVF.  The three GBV bills was signed into law namely: Criminal and Related Matters Amendment Bill, Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Bill and   Domestic Violence Amendment Bill. Due to massive pressure from civil society and NGO’s,  spearheaded by Action Society, mandatory buccal DNA sampling  of arrested schedule 8 offenders, which includes rapists and murderers, was also promulgated after being ignored by government for almost 7 years.

Baloyi continues: “South African has some of the most progressive legislation when it comes to GBVF, but laws alone do not protect vulnerable citizens. These laws need to be implemented from ground level up to come to its full potential. In 2018/2019, there were 52 420 reported sexual offences, but only 6 346 of these cases made it to a courtroom and of these, only 4 724 were prosecuted successfully.  This represents a miniscule conviction rate of only 9, 01%. The government and the South African Police Services (SAPS) need to be held accountable for failing victims of GBVF in our country.”

Meanwhile completely unmentioned, is the problem of sexual and violent mis-conduct by SAPS and public officials. In September 2021, Minister of Police, Bheki Cele revealed that over 10 000 SAPS officers were being investigated for serious offences since 2012. These charges include murder, rape and assault with the intent to commit serious bodily harm.

Since the announcement, there has been a high percentage of cases relating to GBVF involving SAPS officials.

“The President failed to address this serious problem in SAPS, the same department that Police Minister Bheki Cele said will man the GBV desks in all police stations across the country.  We welcome The Presidents  announcement on plans to reform the leadership of the South African Police Services. The incompetency and scandals surrounding the Commissioner of Police is hindering the fight against crime and GBVF,” commented Baloyi.

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