It is a custom to rely on the police for assistance when anyone’s rights are violated. But in South Africa, officers of the law are often found to be perpetuating the culture of not supporting victims, especially women.
Enzokuhle Goreseb is one of those ‘victims of justice’. She is a young woman from Ratanda, whose rights were violated by three men on 20 March.
When she opened a rape case at Ratanda Police Station hours after the horrific incident. Later, to her surprise, he case was transferred to the Vaal and her docket didn’t have have a contact number nor address.
When she kept following up on her case, there were no new developments. Goreseb identified one of the suspects after the case was reported.
In her frustrations, shared her plight on social media where a member of the community, Mr Nhlengethwa followed up with her case and linked her to the investigating officer.
One of the identified suspects, Thabang Sediba, was arrested and granted bail. The suspect appeared at the Heidelberg Magistrates Court today.
The two other suspects remain unidentified.
According to Goreseb, the perpetrator is threatening her and her family.
Officers of the law are insensitive to rape victims, they are the biggest perpuators of rape culture.
Women shared their personal experiences with the SAPS when they reported rape cases, majority of the women were slut and victim shamed by the officers of the law.
State is all talk, little action
Despite the government’s interventions and condemnations towards Gender-Based Violence, the strong stance has been met with little action in the course for justice.
Recently, department of Police launched a national campaign to educate citizens on police’s response to reported gender-based violence cases. Currently, the department is monitoring implementation of the Domestic Violence Act and of the Sexual Offences Act by the police.
“The aim is to empower communities on understanding the reporting process, assistance provided by the various entities within the criminal justice system and what to do if they are not satisfied with the response provided by the police,” said minister Bheki Cele.
The campaign seeks assist the SAPS to improve its response mechanisms to reported incidents of gender-based violence.
The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) says the justice system should show no mercy for any person who commits gender-based violence (GBV).
“Women and children cannot be at the mercy of perpetrators of gender-based violence – be it in the streets or their private spaces,” CGE spokesperson Javu Baloyi said.
He said the justice system should show no mercy for any person who commits gender-based violence and other related atrocities, as this will send a clear message to would-be perpetrators that “enough is enough”.
The Commission for Gender Equality is an independent chapter nine institution in South Africa. It draws its mandate from the South African Constitution by way of the Commission for Gender Equality Act of 1996.
Their missionis to promote respect for gender equality and the protection, development and attainment of gender equality.
The CGE advances, promotes and protects gender equality in South Africa.