Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Pretoria: The Department of Justice and Correctional Services is taking decisive steps to fight Gender Based Violence and Femicide, says Minister Ronald Lamola.

He said the department is taking a “victim centred” justice system.

“In the Justice Sector, we continue to lead various campaigns against Gender Based Violence and Femicide, for both society and the workplace. We have availed resources to fight this pandemic including ensuring that we have victim centric justice system that eliminates secondary victimisation,” he said.

Lamola said the courts are meting out hefty consequences for perpetrators of the scourge which has “gripped South Africa for a long time”.

“[W]e have taken decisive actions within the ambit of the law against perpetrators. This sends a strong message that there will be serious consequences and severe punishment for violating women. The courts are demonstrating to South Africans through convictions and harsh sentences that strong actions are taken. We have also toughened granting of bail and our parole regime is reformed to ensure that perpetrators of Gender Based Violence and Femicide are not granted parole prior to satisfying strict requirements,” Lamola said.

He assured that officials whose “action, inaction or failure to observe standard operating procedures lead to compromised security resulting in loss of lives” will be punished.

The Minister said although government has initiated progressive policies against Gender Based Violence and Femicide, society is also needed to fight patriarchy and misogyny.

“Society must come on board, we must address and tackle the deep rooted culture of violence and masculinity which manifests itself in our communities. Concerted efforts to dismantle patriarchal mindsets in society are still needed, we will remain relentless in promoting gender equality.

“We will continue agitating for increased representation of women which must culminate into increased influence. If all of us can take a firm stand against this pandemic and commit ourselves as activists, together we can defeat this monster. Violence against women is a direct threat to the fabric of society,” Lamola said.

The Department of Social Development has established a 24-hour Gender Based Violence Command Centre which offers trauma counselling and assistance to survivors.

It can be contacted on 0800 428 428 or send a please call me by dialling *120*7867# on a cellphone.