The scourge of gender-based violence (GBV) against women and children has once again reared its ugly head in the country’s 2020/21 fourth quarter crime statistics.
The document, released by Police Minister Bheki Cele on Friday, details how 9 518 people were raped between January and March 2021.
Despite this being a 4% decrease compared to the previous reporting period, the Minister said sexual violence meted against women in this country was “simply shameful”.
“Seemingly men and children are not spared,” he said.
The Minister said a sample of 6 893 of the rape incidents revealed that 4 130 of such incidents took place at the home of the victim or the home of the alleged rapist.
The Eastern Cape’s Lusikisiki police station recorded the highest incidents of rape, overtaking the Inanda station, which has sadly held the number one position for some years.
Despite this, Cele reiterated that GBV remains a priority crime for the SAPS.
The Eastern Cape was dealt a heavy blow last week when four constables died in a head-on collision while returning from crime prevention duties and GBV awareness campaigns outside Engcobo.
The four constables were Lungelo Nogqala, Frank Lila, Buqaqawuli Nyembezi and Secretary Ntombikayise Landu.
He hailed the officers as “shining examples” of Batho Pele principles in the police service.
He said the officers should be honoured by eradicating secondary discrimination of victims of GBV.
“When it comes to GBV, there is no room for complacency. Those ‘sleeping on the job’ – must get their act together or ship out,” said Cele, urging station commanders to act decisively against sub-standard service at stations.
The South African Police Service’s (SAPS) sexual offences figures revealed that the tide is turning and stabilising.
“However, this does not mean we should drop our guards,” he said.
The SAPS now has sufficient “rape kits” at all police stations. He added that a DNA recovery plan is in place to clear the DNA backlogs experienced at SAPS Forensic Science laboratories.
“The delays have been severe we admit, but 42% of dockets for crimes committed against women and children that had been outstanding for over a year, have now been finalised,” he said.
Meanwhile, more forensic analysts were recently hired to clear the backlog being experienced at labs.
“There has been a commitment to tighten the SAPS contract management system and ensure contracts are renewed on time,” said the Minister.
Most importantly, he added, eliminating corrupt practices that once plagued the Forensic Division of the SAPS is non-negotiable.