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Speaker notes of Minister of Police on SNAP debate on violence against women and children at the National Council of Provinces
2017/05/31

Madam Chairperson, honourable members.

WE HAVE NO TIME TO WASTE TIME,

SAPS men and women are wide eyed on the beat as we speak on this very important matter of our times. I want to assure South Africans that crimes against vulnerable groups, women and children are a top priority and we will be expanding thousands of overtime hours on it. WE HAVE NO TIME TO WASTE TIME!

I will be remiss if I do not start of with, once again, sending our heartfelt sorrow at the recent violent crimes against our precious children and females, the most vulnerable in our nation. I am sure the House joins me in sending our united deepest condolences to the victims, survivors and their loved ones. We offer our meditation to you to be strong at this time and assure you that government’s doors are fully open to you. We cry with you.

Madam Chairperson; A 15-year-old girl with courage and determination realized what the opposition benches in this House have demonstrably shown us today why they will always remain in the opposition benches for centuries to come.

The young girl I speak of campaigned for girls’ education is an inspirational way to the entire world. She proved girl children have incredible strength by enduring a brutal attack by the Taliban and two operations to repair her skull and restore her hearing, a brave and…. an AUTHENTIC FIGHTER….named Malala Yousafzai. She recognized that crimes against girls and women are cowardice and are beyond political demands. She taught us all that only a global response, a societal problem requires this cancer of femicide, female infanticide, terrorism, rape, cross border human trafficking and other violent crimes against women and children.

In Elsies River not far from this parliament, a 3-year-old girl, Courteny Pieterse, was brutally murdered by a neighbour who is now in custody facing serious crimes.

In the same community gang fueled and drug related gun violence indiscriminately targeted innocent civilians, boys, girls, men and women.

Madam Chairperson, WE HAVE NO TIME TO WASTE TIME and this requires us to effect NOT rhetoric but certain practical changes - for example, we shall ensure that female victims receive the legal, medical, social and psychological help they need and that police and court process be made as tolerable as possible.

The SAPS is focused upon improved training and visible policing as some of the key areas in which effective change could be implemented. All this Madam Chairperson is currently taking place at heightened pace, WE HAVE NO TIME TO WASTE TIME!

Our communities have rightly criticized the police for ‘reluctance to interfere in domestic disputes, and in particular, for their reluctance to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of the domestic violence.’

I want to make it clear today that DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS NOT TO BE TREATED LIGHTLY. Violence against children, girls and boys is totally intolerable and I assure the children and women watching at home that we are doing everything to protect you and keep you safe from criminals.

The traditional unequal power relationship between men and women is now unconstitutional. Our past, that a man had power over his wife; including the complete control over her property and of her daily affairs is history. WOMEN AND GIRLS ARE NOT MALE PROPERTY, FULL STOP!

This warped notion that a woman could be a man’s property instilled another idea that a husband had the right to administer physical ‘punishment’ to his wife.

Female victims of this domestic violence often retract their police reports or suffer from the inside due to concern over the male bread winner going to jail. This compounds this cancer into emotional and financial violence against our women.

Rape and sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse have remained unconnected to other areas of criminal victimization. Today we declare that ubudlwembe lobu. If you beat your girlfriend, wife or partner ungutsotsi! It will be unparliamentarily of me to plainly tell you what will happen to you when the criminal justice system is finished with you, I will just say we are coming for you Tsotsi! You cowards!

Madam Chairperson, I want to reiterate a clear message to police management to supplement their operating procedures on crimes against women, children and the LGBTIQ and post in writing on all community offices the following 6 Points:

1. All victims should be interviewed by a trained specialist police officer; Globally, SAPS has the 2nd largest female police personnel after Norway. So as we fast-track the training of specialist police – female police officers should conduct the victims interviews;

2. Where possible the interview should be at a location other than a police station if the police station does not have a private room facility;

3. Medical examinations should always be carried out at a location other than a police station;

4. All victims should be given the option of an examination and evidence collection by a woman police surgeon;

5. Only experienced police officer should be assigned to conduct the investigation;

6. All victims of sexual offences, femicide and infanticide loved ones, should be referred to victim support.

Honorable Members, I have also tasked my office to work with our counterparts to urgently evaluate the viability of having infanticide, femicide and all domestic violence as special category. An assault on a woman must carry a heavier sentence than just common assault.

The offence of rape, femicide and infanticide particularly, is surrounded by strong feelings, and insensitive interviewing of a victim, already humiliated and degraded, may cause further trauma. We must not re-humiliate NOR re-victimize the victims.

Whilst some allegations of rape may be false, all investigations must commence on the premise that the complainant is a GENUINE VICTIM. Police and community should NOT be courts of law. Courts are the only centers to pronounce GUILTY OR NOT GUILTY.

Madam Chairperson, our communities, neighbours and families must not hide the shame of domestic abuse. I want to encourage South Africans to report any suspicion of domestic abuse and remember always that ‘each domestic beating is a potential murder’… - ‘each domestic sexual abuse of a child is a potential rape and infanticide’.

To end femicide we need to end impunity, bring perpetrators to justice, and every individual has to change his/her attitude towards this being just a domestic issue.

The criminal justice system is ready to exercise due diligence to prevent, investigate, prosecute and punish the perpetrators. TOGETHER WE MUST LOCK THEM UP!

The killing of females because they are females threatens our national security by having a majority section of our population living in fear; it destroys gender balance, economic progress and harmony. Rape, femicide, infanticide and gender based violence are henceforth regarded by my office as a fundamental threat to national security and I instruct the police to deal with it in that manner as a priority crime.

Women and children’s rights are human rights too. LGBTIQ – the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer communities rights are human rights too.

To achieve this objective, the government will devote resources, funding but most importantly we have the POLITICAL WILL to rid society of heinous crimes! POLICE WILL OPPOSE ALL BAIL APPLICATIONS RELATED TO DOMESTIC VIOLANCE.

I am fully cognizant that many of the murdered women and children come from the most marginalized sectors of society: they are poor, from rural areas, sex workers, illegal immigrants and so on. None of these people deserve to be murdered. Illegal immigrants MUST report crimes against them, sex-workers MUST report crimes against them and not fear to be victimized by police. Police are required first and foremost to protect each and every resident within the borders of the Republic.

Police are instructed to pay particular attention to these groups in their crime profiling and prevention strategies.

We must not lose sight of the fact that police alone can’t solve crime – poverty must be eliminated. Inequality must be eliminated, economic inequality between races and genders. Honorable members we need RADICAL ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION NOW, WE HAVE NO TIME TO WASTE TIME!

‘each domestic beating is a potential murder’… - ‘each domestic sexual abuse of a child is a potential rape and infanticide’.

Madam Chairperson, the executive led by President Zuma has visited the bereaved in across South Africa. Our people want us to shut illegal shebeens down, shut down drug houses. They are demanding we pay attention to minibus taxi business – the vulnerability of females using this mode of transport. Our people are asking for land to build safe homes for themselves. They complain that bail is given to easily. That some of our police collaborate with gangs. Our people want more social workers in their communities. They want safe sports fields and safe transport for children to school. WE HAVE HEARD YOU, WE AGREE WITH YOU! SIYEZA NAKUNI!

INSTEAD of finger pointing, political parties are encouraged to participate in government programmes to encourage vigilance of communities – encourage that each community should have a Community Policing Forum. These crimes are not performed by members of a particular party but by society here. We cannot afford cheap political scoring over such an evil and dark crime often done in hiding.

LETS TEACH OUR BOYS THAT THEY ARE BECAUSE WOMEN ARE!

AFRICAN CULTURE HAS INKOSI AND INKOSIKAZI – INKOSI IS A KING – THIS MAKES WOMEN OUR QUEENS! WE VALUE OUR QUEENS IN AFRICA.

TOGETHER WE MUST ISOLATE CRIMINALS!

Madam Chairperson, let me emphasis a message to police:

• NO WOMAN MUST BE TOLD TO GO FIX THINGS AT HOME

• NO WOMAN MUST BE TURNED AWAY WITHOUT A PROPER INVESTIGATION

• REPORTS AND STATEMENTS MUST BE TAKEN CONFIDENTIALLY AND IN PRIVATE ROOMS

• WHEN A MISSING REPORT IS MADE, POLICE ARE EXPECTED TO IMMEDIATELY CONDUCT SCENE INVESTIGATIONS AND FOLLOW PROTOCOLS AND STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES.

WE HAVE NO TIME TO WASTE TIME!

ISIKHATHI SIDLIWE INJA BANTU BAKWETHU!

In closing; my department will be launching a campaign against violence on women and children, including other vulnerable groups. We are saying to abotsotsi! “not in our name!”

Thank you.