Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula’s task team on sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) has set up a hotline and email address where incidents can be reported as well as additional information supplied on previously reported incidents.
The hotline number is 0800 021811 and the email address [email protected] should be used.
The ministerial task team, headed by Thoko Mpumlwana, deputy chair of the Commission for Gender Equality, has it that “levels of sexual offences currently reported do not reflect the levels of sexual offences in the rest of the country”.
“The task team has heard some incidences are either reported to a superior and not referred appropriately or not reported at all for fear of victimisation.
“For the task team to gain as much information as possible it has established a hotline and email address solely to hear complaints of sexual offences, including sexual harassment. The hotline and email address are administered by the task team and any information received will be treated confidentially.
“What action will be taken will depend on the nature of the information and specific requests from the complainant. Where relevant the complainant will be referred to appropriate institutions internally or externally to the DoD. Referral will be done in consultation with the complainant.”
The notice on the Reserve Force website states “the DoD has a zero tolerance policy on sexual offenders and strong action will be taken against perpetrators”.
The task team was named in December. In addition to chair Mpumlwana, its members are Minister Mapisa-Nqakula; deputy defence and military veterans minister Thabang Makwetla; Britta Rotman, a legally trained professional with knowledge in sexual abuse, Dr Mongezi Guma, a public speaker and consultant on human rights, management and organisational development and Major-General Daphne Nodola, who will assist and guide the task team on dealing with military structures.
Speaking at the task team launch, Mapisa-Nqakula said victim support was a major component of its mandate. The team must take steps to determine what measures are in place to protect and support victims from when an incident is reported through to finalisation. Additionally it should make recommendations on a legislative, policy and practical level to improve victim support and protection and explore administrative discharge and/or removal of the alleged perpetrator from the same environment as victims.