Parliament, Thursday, 19 September 2019 – The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Police, Ms Tina Joemat-Pettersson said the committee is in support of the emergency interventions outlined by President Cyril Ramaphosa during the Joint Sitting of the National Council of Provinces and the National Assembly aimed at fighting the scourge of Gender Based Violence (GBV).

The committee has acknowledged the crisis of violence in general and GBV in particular the country is facing. “It is completely unacceptable that women and children are unsafe in South Africa. Furthermore, it is worrying that 2700 women and over than 1000 children died in the hands of men last year (2018) alone. It is against this reason that the committee has called for a change of mind on how we approach issues of violence and GBV,” said the committee Chairperson, Ms Tina Joemat-Pettersson.

The committee agrees with the President that the time for dialogue is long gone, what is needed now is action that will ensure that we deal decisively with this scourge. The committee joins many South Africans in saying “enough is enough".

Regarding the Emergency Plan, the committee welcomes the initiative to provide training on gender sensitivity to law-enforcement officials at all levels. Women must be encouraged to report acts of violence perpetrated against them and police stations must ensure that safe environment always prevails for reporting of such cases. Senior management of the South African Police Service (SAPS) must move with speed to begin with the mentioned training. The committee also calls for harsh penalty against officials that are caught transgressing sensitivity measures.

Redirecting resources for the purposes of strengthening Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Investigation units of SAPS is welcomed and it is a development that will ensure a focused approach to policing on GBV cases.

The committee awaits proposals on changes to the current legislation to ensure that sentence for the perpetrators of crime against women and children is harsher. “We are in agreement on the proposals that the state should appose bail for rape suspects and people charged with murder of women and children,” Ms Joemat-Pettersson emphasised. The committee is committed to processing changes to the legislation with the urgency that they deserve.

Furthermore, the committee welcomes the initiative to raise awareness on substance abuse which has been identified as one of the contributing factors to violence. The police must strengthen policing of places that sell alcohol and ensure that they abide by the regulations of selling of alcohol. The intelligence service must also strengthen its strategies to deal with the escalation of drugs on the streets of South Africa.

Above all, the committee calls on the society as a whole to work closely with the police to fight crime, by reporting and sharing information with police to ensure arrest and prosecution. The objective of the plan would be achieved if there is meaningful cooperation between the police and communities.

The committee will, in the coming weeks, engage the senior management of SAPS on the operational plans to implement the President's emergency plan.


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