Members of Parliament’s Police Committee have questioned the efficacy of police initiatives to fight gender-based violence. The top management of the South African Police Service presented among others, the GBV National Strategic Plan aimed at ensuring a coordinated response to the crisis.
The department has also introduced the GBVF Emergency Response Action Plan to provide an emergency response by government, the private sector, and civil society to address the scourge. Members expressed satisfaction with the overall plan, but some raised questions about what happens in practice.
Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald says a study by the police secretariat showed an unsatisfactory situation with regard to the preparedness of police stations.
“Only 21 of 1143 were fully compliant with the provisions of the Domestic Violence Act and only 66% of those police stations had victim-friendly rooms that are functional and resourced. What practical steps are going to be taken to ensure that this specific situation changes so that we can ensure that there is protection for the victims of domestic violence?”
A year since Uyinene Mrwetyana’s murder
Monday marked a year since the University of Cape Town’s student Uyinene Mrwetyana’s rape and murder. Her death sparked nationwide protests against gender-based violence. She has since become the face of anti-GBV demonstrations in the country.
The university hosted a webinar yesterday to remember her. A call was made for the media to play a role in fighting the scourge.
Professor Floretta Boonzaaier pleaded to the media to run sustained campaigns aimed at raising awareness around GBV.
“We need sustained campaigns on gender-based violence, not waiting for Women’s Month or 16 Days of Activism to put reporting of violence on the agenda or not waiting for another graphic story that will sell newspapers.”