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2020/11/30      |  Written By:  Colonel A Mathe   |   Province:  Gauteng

Pretoria; 27 November 2020 - The South African Police Service (SAPS) led a nationwide mobilization multidisciplinary awareness campaign to mark the beginning of the 16 Days of No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign.

The campaign which took place in many parts of the country consisted mostly of female officers from various law enforcement agencies.

Its aim, to mobilise society in playing an active role in assisting the work of law enforcement in detecting, preventing and fighting Gender-Based-Violence within communities.

The campaign also served as a platform for all involved, to pledge their commitment in treating victims of violence with dignity and the prioritization of GBV cases to ensure convictions.

Various operations, to support this campaign, were held nationwide. These included roadblocks, vehicle check points, stop and search operations, compliance inspections as well as tracking and tracing of suspects wanted by law enforcement for their role in GBV related complaints.

In the west of Pretoria, the Deputy National Commissioner responsible for Asset and Legal Management within the SAPS, Lieutenant General Franscinah Vuma led a multi-disciplinary awareness operation consisting mostly of female counterparts from various law enforcement agencies including, Gauteng Traffic, Tshwane Metropolitan Police Department and officials from the Gauteng Community Safety Department.

Organized Labour formations, the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) and the South African Policing Union (SAPU) also formed part of the proceedings.

Operations which ran concurrently to the Gauteng Province’s Okae Molao weekly operations commenced on Wednesday evening and continued until the afternoon of Thursday, 26 November 2020.

With the focus on GBV related complaints, the operation netted 247 suspects, of which 41 were linked to GBV related complaints. The breakdown of registered cases is as follows:

Twenty-five common assault cases involving females as the victims were registered, one of the cases involved pointing of a firearm. Two cases of assault GBH were registered by female victims. Nine rape cases were registered and the victims include eight female adults and one female minor. A further two sexual assault cases were registered, the complaints were also female victims.

Operations culminated in the signing of a pledge by all stakeholders involved. The pledge reads as follows:

As women in law enforcement, we are recommitting ourselves to the creation of a safe and secure environment for all people in South Africa.

We do so in recognition of the important responsibility bestowed upon us to represent our organizations in a positive and supportive manner at all times.

We therefore pledge to discharge all duties to the best of our skills and knowledge within the ambit of the law.

We pledge:

·       To treat all victims with respect, dignity and assist all GBV victims in a victim sensitive manner;

·       To always uphold the constitution and the law and to exercise the powers conferred upon us in a well-controlled manner;

·       To ensure that, whether we are on or off duty, we will not look away, be silent or act as bystanders;

·       Assist victims in a Victim Friendly Room (VFR) or an alternative room where the statement will be taken in private or other

        location providing victim support services;

·       To refer victims for medical examination by a healthcare professional to obtain medical evidence and complete a medical

        report including seeing to the health of the victim;

·       To ensure that psychosocial support and feedback is provided to victims on progress of the case on a continuous basis.

“Operations such as these are continuous through the year, we are only intensifying our efforts in a multi-disciplinary manner, together as law enforcement we believe we can do more to end the scourge. We will also be conducting visits at all our stations to ensure that victims of such crimes are treated with the dignity they deserve. Our call is for our communities to come forward and work with us as law enforcement because these are crimes that happen behind closed doors”, said Deputy National Commissioner, Lt Gen Franscinah Vuma.

The Acting Divisional Commissioner of Detective Services, Maj Gen Bafana Linda has issued a directive to all detectives in the country to pay special focus on tracing operations of all wanted suspects on crimes against women and children including domestic violence.

“This initiative is a highlight to acknowledge the 16 Days of Activism on crimes against women, children and vulnerable groups. It’s objective is to maximize efforts on addressing GBV crimes. The SAPS has 185 units specializing in the investigation of GBV crimes. In the past financial year, the unit in collaboration with other stakeholders, attained 637 life sentences for those who were behind the scourge. There is more to do and with the assistance of other stakeholders we will and can do more. The National Commissioner has also issued a directive that NO victims of GBV  should be turned away from police stations, if there are such cases, they ought to be brought to the attention of management and consequence management be adhered to”, said Maj Gen Bafana Linda.

Communities are  urged to continue to report any forms of GBV perpetrated against women, children and vulnerable groups at their nearest police station or call Crime Stop on 08600 10111. Information can also be shared on the MySAPS. The MySAPSApp can be downloaded on any smart phone. All information will be treated with the strictest of confidence.