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Acting National Commissioner, Lt Gen Mothiba at Action Indaba on Gender Based Violence and Protection of Vulnerable Groups

Welcoming Address by Lt Gen Mothiba

Programme Director
Honourable Minister of Police, Mr Mbalula
Honourable Deputy Minister of Police, Mr Mkongi
The Secretary of Police, Mr Rapea
Deputy National Commissioners of the SAPS
Divisional and Provincial Commissioners
SAPS’s senior management
All other members of the SAPS present
All stakeholders, speakers and ambassadors of the fight against gender based violence
The academia
Distinguished guests
Members of the media

Ladies and gentlemen, I appreciate the opportunity to welcome all present here today. It is an honour for the South African Police Service to cooperate with the Ministry of Police and all other role players to host this Action Indaba on Gender-based Violence and the Protection of Vulnerable Groups.

This indaba significantly coincides with Women’s Month, a month dedicated to the struggles and the emancipation of women, as well as the enhancement of service delivery, particularly to women, who are still the victims of violence. We have also seen how violence has been directed at other vulnerable groups such as the elderly, people with disabilities, people with albinism and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people. We have also noted how rape is used as a weapon against mainly lesbian women.

We need to find a way of effectively implementing progressive policies to effect change.

The SAPS is mandated by section 205 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa to prevent, combat and investigate crime, to uphold and enforce the law, to maintain public order and protect and secure the inhabitants of the Republic of South Africa. This mandate is further given expression in the South African Police Service Act, 1995 and the South African Police Service Amendment Act of 2012. This has also been further supported by a slew of national directives referred to as National Instructions and Standing Orders, aimed at ensuring that the services provided are sensitive to the needs of the victims of crime in general, particularly to those of gender-based violence, child abuse and vulnerable groups.

This indaba is a momentous and significant occasion that can set the agenda and be a pre-eminent voice to those who suffer the scourge of violence. This also represents the Minister of Police’s instruction to the SAPS as the executive authority, to ensure that civil society and communities are mobilised to address the root causes of crime in sustainable partnerships. We have also heeded the message provided in the six-point plan for the victims of gender-based violence, which the Minister will discuss in more detail.

Ladies and gentlemen, this indaba has brought together community-based leaders from the traditional authorities, religious leaders, academics, professionals and public servants to discuss the causes of gender-based violence and find strategies to minimise and root out gender-based, violence-related crimes.

It is important to note that this gender-based, violence-related indaba has been interlinked with the continual efforts by our Visible Policing professionals and the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Investigations’ conference, which started on the 14 th of August.

In recognition of Women’s Month, the FCS investigation Unit hosted awareness programmes in collaboration with the Visible Policing Division, in an endeavour to sensitise the community on crimes against women and children. It should be noted that visible policing is based on daily interactions with sectors and the broader communities whom civil society engages with daily. We should not refer to gender-based violence without also referring to the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations, which is engaged in disrupting the activities of traffickers, cybercrime and organised syndicates. These activities are often intertwined with drug smuggling, sexual exploitation and acute forms of slavery.

The recent spates of violence perpetrated against women, children and vulnerable groups, are shocking to say the least.  Images of violence are becoming a norm on our social media platforms. We are seeing violent acts even in spaces designed to be platforms of teaching and learning.  We have also noted the challenges community members face with regard to the reporting of gender-based violent crimes.

We remain committed to the spirit of the National Crime Prevention Strategy of 1996, which so clearly indicated that, given the complex nature of the causes of crime which are rooted mainly in communities and the social, psycho-social and socio-economic factors – we need to find holistic, community-based, integrated solutions to the prevention of crime and gender-based violence. As the White Paper on Policing and the White Paper on Safety and Security have indicated, services are provided by those whose attitudes are shaped by the communities in which they live. This applies across the board to the range of services one may find in the private or public sectors. We will continue to do our utmost to ensure that the work ethics of professionalism, excellence and good service prevail.

In this regard, we emphasise the Minister’s direction that no victim should be turned away when reporting crime. Reported cases must be registered so that the case can be traced and feedback provided to the victims. Our goal is to have cases ready for court so that the rest of the criminal justice system may be in a position to conclude cases, to the best of our ability.

However, the police cannot effectively deal with these cases by themselves. We need the commitment of the members of the public to end the violence committed against women, children and other vulnerable groups. Gender-based violence and child abuse often occur behind closed doors and between people who are known to each other.  The solution is a community that is intolerant of violence. Ladies and gentlemen, Martin Luther King Jnr once said: ”Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

As the SAPS, we remain committed to rooting out all forms of criminality.  Despite the fact that much still needs to be done to root out gender-based violence and all other crimes perpetrated against women, we have made progress in fighting the scourge of violence against women.

Delegates, we look forward to a full agenda for our indaba.  Let us tackle these issues with the confidence and determination that will inspire hope in the victims of violence. May we work together at this conference to reach our envisaged goals.  Thank you.