National Roundtable: Multi-Sectoral Interventions & Actions on Gender-Based Violence

Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities

22 April 2013
Chairperson: Ms D Ramodibe (ANC), Ms B Dlulane (Multiparty Women's Caucus-National) Deputy Chairperson: Ms C Zikalala
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Meeting Summary

The joint meeting addressed a number of issues around gender-based violence and the inter-sectoral plans to address the problems. The most recurrent themes in the presentations were the shortage of resources and the need to review legislation. Lack of inter-departmental cooperation was cited by most stakeholders are of major concern, which meant that some issues were not being addressed. In addition, most agreed that either the collection or presentation of data by the institutions concerned was insufficient and the problem was further exacerbated by significant under-reporting of, in particular, domestic violence crimes. It was also noted that men needed to be more accountable as these issues could not be left to women alone, and in the Declaration there was inclusion of a recommendation for broad community education of all.  

Each of the organisations or groups presenting highlighted specific examples or concerns around what they had seen in the areas where they worked. Several of the commentators isolated some of the main causes of gender-based and domestic violence but said that the problem was that, mainly because the numbers were not well-enough known, not enough focus was placed on prevention. The effects on children, and the lack of children’s programmes at shelters, received attention. Some of the mediation strategies were ineffective because they overlooked existing power imbalances. All service providers needed better training on gender and how the law was worded, and should work. In relation to rape issues, there was evidence that a better conviction rate would be a significant deterrent, and so organisations in this field were calling for improved services to rape survivors, better training to people in the criminal justice system, court support programmes and community group programmes. There was a problem in accessing budget, particularly because of cuts at the Department of Social Development.
Organisations dealing with sex workers were generally in favour of total or partial decriminalisation of sex work (Embrace Dignity believed in criminalising the buyer, but not the sex workers) but believed that more research was needed. They outlined the substantial problems and harassment, especially from the police, that sex workers faced, and urged that legislation from the SALRC report be pursued.  A number of instances were set out of gaps in the legal system or problems in incorrect or no implementation of the rights that women should receive, WLC was asked to give a presentation on the gaps that it saw in the legal system and it was noted that substantial delays and often poor forensic investigations led to women being discouraged from pursuing the cases, or finding that perpetrators were at large in the communities. There were substantial problems with reporting, and even after that, with the way statistics were presented. Organisations urged a re-establishment of specialist sexual offences courts and clear policy around the Thuthuzela Centres and shelters.

Organisations dealing with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people (LGBTI) called for realisation of their human rights, and outlined the persecution that this group received, setting out a number of statistics on hate crimes and serious assaults, rapes and murders. It was suggested that there was a need for specialised hate crime legislation. More research was needed, as also on how the Traditional Courts Bill and Green Paper on the Family depicted a specific view of gender and families, and how those implicit assumptions could lead to misperceptions.

The Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, the Department of Social Development and SAPS outlined some of the policy issues with which they were dealing, and their programmes. They outlined the work of the National Council on GBV. , and noted what they were trying to do The State agreed that it had not done an analysis of what it was really investing in. It was concerned with substance abuse that often fuelled the issues. More women officers, magistrates and judges were still needed.

Other issues highlighted in discussions included the need to consider the position of women whose sons may die during initiation, atrocities against the elderly, and marital rape not being taken seriously enough. It was suggested that there should be a defined crime of “domestic violence”, and research must be conveyed in languages that could be understood by all. More resources were needed and there was a need also for standardised monitoring and evaluation tools. A DA representative suggested that a committee drawing on three clusters was needed to critically examine the legislation, and address what was needed in training. It as also suggested that the Department of Basic Education must review the Life Orientation Curriculum, to address perceptions in particular, and it was suggested that more clarity was needed on language around prostitution and hate crimes against LGBTI. There was also a need to look critically at the priorities, since Correctional Services was receiving ten times more per day than shelters. Psychological screening of SAPS was needed. Most people agreed than rather than attempting to focus on “family values” it would be better to try to focus on a human rights framework.

Delegates adopted the draft Declaration, which was worded around six main themes, and included a comment on intensive community education of both men and women.   

Meeting report

National Roundtable: Multi-Sectoral Interventions & Actions on Gender-Based Violence
The Chairperson made some introductory remarks on format and welcomed delegates, noting that the purpose of this workshop was to give Civil Society an opportunity to engage issues on Gender-Based Violence (GBV) under the theme of “multi-sectoral interventions and actions”. It was widely known that GBV had become dominant, with incidences like the deaths of Anene Booysen and Reeva Steenkamp to name a few, and the question remained as to what was being done by society, and whether it was sufficient. It was hoped that suggestions would be made on ways to reduce or curb the scourge of GBV.

RAPCAN Presentation: Service Responses to the Co-Victimisation of Mother and Child-Missed opportunities in the prevention of domestic violence- experiences from South Africa
Ms Vivienne Lalu, Advocacy Coordinator, RAPCAN, noted that acronym of the name stood for the “Resources Aimed at the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect”. RAPCAN was a children's rights organisation and she would present on its research on service delivery to children when they were living in abusive households. The research was aimed at finding out what the challenges were in those service provisions and what recommendations could be made. .

She described some of the research methodology. The desktop review, which was the first part, was constituted by what written material was out there, theories and suggestions on the topic. The second part was a qualitative research project consulting service providers from urban, peri-urban and rural settings since it was understood that service provision could differ depending on physical situations. There had been focus group sessions with service providers, semi-structured interviews and also a Government focus group session where the Departments of Social Development (DSD), Justice (DOJ), Education (DBE) and the South African Police Service (SAPS) and civil society had all participated.

RAPCAN had found that there seemed to be a focus on individuals when others were intervening in Domestic Violence (DV), which maybe was the reason behind the interventions being not effective. The researchers found that substance abuse within individuals and rigid gender roles that remained unchallenged within the family space could contribute as high risk factors for violence. Lack of community cohesion and lack of resources could also be another layer of risk factors within a specific community. Social risk factors could be the generally accepted use of violence as a form of discipline. The criminal justice system was not working really well. Those factors cutting across the various layers of society had a contributory impact for an individual experiencing violence.

When it looked at interventions RAPCAN found that service delivery only happened at tertiary level where violence had already occurred, and those interventions were very short-term and targeted the individual. Primary and secondary interventions, which involved prevention at community level, were longer and harder. There was not, in practice, much of a focus on high risk groups, even though the literature recommended those interventions as the most effective when the goal was to decrease the risk to violence.

The other risk factors to DV were found to be that in the family space, most children unfortunately learned and experienced violence. That of course became a problem when those children matured and taught its children violence. That indicated why DV was such a challenge for intervention efficacy. It was found that both girls and boys learnt about violence in its families. The global norm of a nuclear family was not how most South African families were structured, and that placed a particular strain and vulnerability for violence.  

Those who had visited DV shelters would attest to the fact that there were more children than women. RAPCAN had often found that even though those shelters were primarily for women survivors, it had very few programmes for children. In order to break the inter-generational transmission of violence, it would be necessary to intervene on a secondary level of prevention to work with those children. That kind of service was not being provided to children who had witnessed DV, even though it was known that there was a high probability that young male children who were witnesses to such violence could grow up to become perpetrators, and young girls could grow up to become victims of violence.

Literature also told that there seemed to be a very strong link between disciplining practises where families' use of very harsh forms of violent discipline became another way of transmitting and teaching children that violence was an acceptable response.

RAPCAN found that in some of the service providers with whom they consulted there was a tendency of blaming victims in that they returned to where they were abused initially, and violence was normalised as a usual occurrence. There had been a general view from service providers that women were the primary caregivers of its children and when the children were not properly cared for, that was the mothers' fault. In clinics and at schools and other sites where women presented for DV and its children were being affected; there were no practitioners asking after the well-being of the children, so those children went unnoticed even if they were missing school because of the experience of DV. Most service providers saw substance abuse as the cause of DV, which showed a lack of understanding, and they assumed that if the substance abuse stopped, so would the domestic violence. That was not the case.

Many service providers seemed to use Family Group Conferencing as a mediation strategy in attempting to deal with DV, overlooking the power imbalance in a DV situation in family structures which then placed the victim and her children at increased risk. Service providers seemed to be frustrated by the inefficacy of its interventions in breaking the cycle of DV, even though its interventions did not in fact as said earlier the interventions did not in fact deal with the multilayered ecological effect of domestic violence and therefore just provided short-term relief with DV recurring in those individuals' lives

The lack of inter-departmental collaboration was a big concern amongst all the stakeholders present. This allowed for children to slip through unnoticed. The women's and children's sectors tended not to be working ideally together since its needs were not similar, and there was that notion of “women and children” whose needs could be matched by a single response.

It had become clear that service providers needed basic training around issues of gender, and how the law worked. There was a need for a systematic approach to prevention, since merely targeting the individual at a tertiary level was not going to contribute to breaking the transmission of DV, or achieve long term relief from DV.

Rape Crisis presentation: Challenges and successes in addressing violence against women
Ms Kathleen Dey, Director: Rape Crisis, Cape Town, noted that Rape Crisis had been asked to deal with the challenges and successes faced in addressing violence against women, and took Members through the attached document.

She noted that Rape Crisis placed much emphasis on the fact that a higher conviction rate acted as a definite deterrent to rapists and that was a very strong focus . It was focusing on four main areas. In terms of improved services to rape survivors, both prior to entering and within the criminal justice system, Rape Crisis offered training to members of the criminal justice system on how to support rape survivors and also how to mediate the interventions with somebody who was suffering from post traumatic stress. The court support programme provided rape survivors with the support they needed under traumatic circumstances, to deal with the complexities of the criminal justice system. The Road to Recovery programme offered training to community groups around the services it had a right to expect within the criminal justice system. All these services were essential if there was to be a focus on increasing the conviction rate and supporting people who had been traumatised, back into functional lives.

Rape Crisis believed that it was reaching a significant number of women with its integrated programmes even though it was not seeing the same individuals each year.

The challenges were outlined. Rape Crisis had an annual budget of R6 million, of which well over R1 million per annum was from four international donors, who had subsequently withdrawn over the previous three years. One third of its income was lost through funding cuts that had been imposed by the Department of Social Development in the Western Cape. The media coverage of the Anene Booysen rape, mutilation and murder, and the funding crisis that Non-Profit Organizations (NPOs) were facing helped increase the individual donations that Rape Crisis received to an unprecedented degree.

The chairperson interrupted Ms Dey and asked her not to continue with the rest of the presentation, due to shortage of time.

Ms Dey agreed that most of the other submissions were covered by others also and points would be raised in the discussion.

The Chairperson asked that copies of all presentations be handed in.

Co-Chairperson’s remarks
The Co-Chairperson arrived at this point, apologised for being late and said that she had had to deal with a case of civil violence on her way to Parliament. She thanked the delegates for attending and noted that this meeting was vitally important, since the safety of South African women and girls was under threat. Academic studies, media reports and day-to-day conversations were filled with reports of violation of women and girls. The recent Commission on the Status of Women attended by Ms Ramodibe and Ms B Mabe made it clear that gross abuses perpetrated against South Africa’s its vulnerable citizens could no longer be tolerated. It was the responsibility of all those present to protect vulnerable citizens. The recent business planning of the Multiparty Business Caucus was clear on the point that female parliamentarians must use their positions to influence policy, to the benefit of women. This Roundtable was aimed at constructing concrete and holistic strategies for the elimination of violence in South Africa, in whatever form. The day's meeting was a platform for civil society to inform, in particular, female parliamentarians on the challenges faced in the protection of women and girls, and young boys. Most importantly, however, it was a platform to give insight on the actions that needed to be taken by legislatures in order to gain significant ground on ending violence. Additionally it was aimed at providing an opportunity for Departments to share information on implementing programmes to protect women, to outline the challenges that they faced, and decide upon remedial strategies.

The gains that had been made in advancing women leadership were threatened by the scourge of violence, which undermined the dignity and the place of women in society. It was the hope of the conveners that the joint meeting would inspire more action on behalf of all women, girls and boys; that the collective effort of the conveners and invitees would significantly improve its ability to protect and give voice to those who needed it most.

She noted that although the Multiparty Women's Caucus (MWC) was not in place in all provinces, the convenors had been careful to invite provincial desks where there was no MWC, and she hoped that they would also be sharing what they were doing and what they were proposing. By the end of the meeting, the holistic discussions should help the delegates to chart a way forward, in addition to the declaration that was going to be made.

The Chairperson thanked her Co-Chairperson and indicated that the Chairpersons of Portfolio Committees and the focal persons from gender desks in the Provinces had been invited, so that they could report back to their own bodies. This overview had shown how seriously the conveners saw violence against women and children.  

Embrace Dignity presentation
Ms Zarra Trafford, Research Assistant, Embrace Dignity, outlined that this body was a human rights organisation advocating for law reform on adult prostitution. That was in response to recent call from the South African Law Reform Commission (SALRC) for public comment on its Discussion Paper 107, which identified the need for an effective law to reduce prostitution, in the context of the country’s high unemployment rate and violence against women.

In relation to the areas of Advocacy and Law Reform, she noted that the SALRC presented four options that policy makers could consider in reducing and deterring prostitution. Embrace Dignity was in favour of partial criminalisation, which was based on a Swedish concept that criminalised the buyer and the trader, but decriminalised the seller, in recognition of the unequal power relationship involved. Embrace Dignity believed that a focus was needed on research about the population of prostituted people, which, although done to a degree, often had not revealed the extent of prostitution of women in South Africa. It was also interested in spreading awareness about how prostitution affected people in society and in knowing whether people wanted to know more about prostitution in the country.

Ms Nozizwe Routledge, Executive Director, Embrace Dignity, reminded Members that in the past there had been close working processes between civil society, MPs and the Women’s Caucus to try to end violence against women. It was aware that there was a process of rewriting the country’s laws on adult prostitution and hoped to engage very closely with MPs. Embrace Dignity essentially was advocating that women have more control over their bodies. In the prostitution industry, women did not so much choose to enter the industry, but felt that they had little other choice, because of poverty and unemployment. Embrace Dignity wanted to partner with the researchers from Parliament to get a better understanding of issues. She cited as an example that many of the women who entered the commercial sexual industry had experienced sexual abuse as little girls, and some had entered the industry very young. A better understanding was needed of that issue.

Presentation by the Women's Legal Centre
Ms Jennifer Williams, Director, Women’s Legal Centre (WLC), noted that she was reading from a draft report, and it was subject to change.

She noted that the report (see attached document) was illustrative of the told the audience that the report from which she would speak from was the unofficial draft and therefore it was subject to change. The report was illustrative of the point that there was a lot of law, policies, regulations, standing orders and directives in relation to violence against women. The WLC research with Rape Crisis had looked at what all those laws were and the obligations of all the role players, and had checked how things were working in practice. It had studied women who had approached Rape Crisis, over a period of two years, and it had concluded that the law was not being implemented properly.

WLC was asked to give a presentation on the gaps that it saw in the legal system and in such a short presentation there could be simplifications or exaggerations. However, for illustrative purposes, WLC wanted to give an example of what could go wrong when a rape was reported in the system. For example, Ms X could be refused her request to lay a charge at the police station, even though the law required the police to accept the charge. The police officer could write the wrong charge on the charge sheet as a result of poor knowledge of the law which would result in Ms X only pursuing a charge of indecent assault instead of rape. The officer could refuse to take the statement until a female officer came along to take the statement. Ms X could be refused her right to a private room to give her statement and told that she should describe the circumstances in front of everyone at the charge office. She could also be denied the opportunity to lay the charge in her mother tongue and be told to speak in the charging officer's language, or she could not later supplement the statement she made immediately after being raped. The police could say they were unable to arrest the perpetrator as the crime was not seen as a serious offence. In some cases, it happened that the crime was not investigated properly. The complainant possibly would also not be informed about whether the perpetrator had received bail, and not informed of the procedure or where her case was, with the result that she could meet him in the court corridor or a taxi on her way home. There were also insufficient attempts to trace the perpetrator, and sometimes the victim herself, because her details were never taken and recorded, which was the reason why so many cases fell out of the system. Additionally, although officers were not supposed to have discretion to close a case, there had emerged an unofficial practice in some police stations where the complainant technically withdrew the case on the advice of the police.

There were delays at all stages of the procedures, because of very high case loads, with some cases taking up to ten years and 42 postponements before the conviction had been reached. There was also the issue of complainants identifying other witnesses who would not be contacted, and their statements would not be collected. Lack of proper preparation for court was also apparent, where complainants would not be counselled as to what to expect during cross examination, even if they were the main witnesses in cases.

Ms Williams set out some general findings. There were no disaggregated statistics. If it was known, for example, per sexual offence, how many offences there were and at what stage the proceedings were at, it would be more possible for the various departments to plan, budget and allocate funds, and they could monitor the progress. Women did not know that at any stage of the procedure they could say that they wanted to be in a private room or wanted a female officer to be with them.

WLC was recommending the re-establishment of the sexual offences courts (SO courts), by legislation, with the necessary steps to make them properly functional, like the Labour Courts and Land Claims Courts. At the moment magistrates tried to avoid being allocated to sexual offences matters. However, there should be specific budget allocations for training. Secondly, it was recommended that the cases that were strong should not be diverted to the lower courts instead of the specialist SO courts, so that there was a good conviction rate in the sexual offences court and a bad one in the other courts. There was a need to look more closely at the training and create the same policies to apply to sexual offence cases, whether they were heard in a normal magistrate's court or in a sexual offences court.

Additionally there was a need to have a clear policy around Thuthuzela Care Centres, and to ensure that their services were consistently applied and that the service providers of those services were funded. There was also a need to have victim empowerment legislation and everyone needed to get behind the Department of Social Development (DSD) in pushing for that, so that it there would be access to services for victims of crime. More importantly, the duties and obligations should actually be enforced, rather than being regarded as written policy only. Finally, there needed to be a serious consideration about the proposal to demilitarise and professionalise the police, since maybe this might lead to looking at how the police could provide services in a professional way to sexual offence victims without traumatising them further, furthermore ensuring that those services would result in arresting and convicting the offenders.

Violence against Sex Workers presentation: Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Task Force (SWEAT) and Sisonke
Ms Ntokozo Yingwana, SWEAT, briefly outlined the history of SWEAT and noted that this organisation advocated for full recognition of human rights for adult consenting sex workers. Some of its focus areas included gaining access to health and other legal services for sex workers.  The presenters began to red through the attached presentation document, but ran out of time before concluding their reading.

A short recess was called.

The Co-Chairperson asked the audience to please rise and observe a moment of silence for all the deceased victims of Gender-Based Violence (GBV).

Triangle Project
Ms Ingrid Lynch, Advocacy Coordinator, Triangle Project, noted that Triangle was also a human rights organisation that was involved in the realisation of the constitutional human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people (LGBTI). Globally, South Africa had one of the most progressive constitutional and legal frameworks for the protection of LGBTI rights. As many of the audience knew, active prosecution and persecution of LGBTI individuals in most African countries still continued.

South Africa had enshrined the basic human right not to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation in the Constitution, but the constitutional and legal protection that was largely in place for LGBTI individuals did not mean that everyday prejudice and victimisation based on sexual orientation was not seen. Discrimination persisted, and there were patterns of violent harassment of women in same sex relationships, which was prevalent particularly in South African townships. Mostly black, working class men would target self identified lesbian women with non-normative gender expressions, for hate crimes that often included rape and murder. It could be well recognised that the depth of misogyny and its complementing violence against women had reached epidemic proportions. As a group, however LGBTI individuals were singled out for particular forms of abuse and violence.

Provisional findings from research conducted by the South African Hate Crimes Working Group stated that almost half of hate crimes included in its sample were motivated by prejudice based on the survivors' sexual orientation. Another study conducted in 2011 found that at least 500 lesbians were victims of rape, motivated by homophobic hate each year. Lesbians from under-resourced communities lived in constant fear. A Triangle project study found that 86% of black lesbians included in the study reported that they feared being victims of sexual violence, based on their sexual orientation. They were taunted and harassed and were unable to live a life of dignity and equality. What was important about hate crimes was the broader impact in that these stemmed beyond the individual incidents, and had a regulatory function, in that they impacted not only on the victim, but conveyed a powerful message of intolerance to all persons who shared in the victims' identity. That wider ripple effect had the consequence that hate crimes could and did intimidate and disrupt entire communities.

LGBTI hate crimes were fuelled by strong sanctions against women's transgressions from their “prescribed” gender roles and therefore functioned to discipline gender non-conformity and deviation from heterosexuality. The construction, by national leaders, of idealised black identities as exclusively heterosexual had exacerbated the dangers for black lesbians in the recovery of post-colonial African identity. Such a reassertion of patriarchy expected that women submit to men and assume a passive role. Being lesbian had often been regarded as desiring to be manly, and therefore threatening the natural order of male dominance. The extent of that threat to male norms was apparent in the term “corrective rape”, which was actually a sexually based hate crime against lesbian women, with the rationale that the perpetrator was raping the victim as a cure for same sex orientation. One male interviewee in a certain study said a person raping a lesbian was clearly doing to let the woman know that she must become straight, and this was acceptable in principle.

Some of the challenges in hate crime prosecution were set out. Since 2002 there had been an increase in the reported rape and murder crimes, where sexual orientation or gender non-conformity was described as relevant to the attack. While the country's progressive legal and policy framework was supposed to provide some protection or recourse, many survivors described an apathetic and inefficient response when attempting to access services. Survivors and their families reported secondary victimisation by the police, and some women had reported being asked demeaning questions about lesbian sexual acts when reporting a crime. That was corroborated by a 2011 study by Human Rights Watch, where the police were themselves the primary perpetrators of violence against lesbian women and other LGBTI individuals. All of this meant that there was severe under reporting of hate crimes and other forms of victimisation. Another illustration to emphasise the point, was that a survey of survivors of homophobic hate crimes in the Western Cape found that 66% of the women interviewed never reported the attack, as they thought they would never be taken seriously. Of those, 25% said they feared exposing their sexuality to the police, and 22% said they were afraid of being abused. There was also a high rate of attrition of those cases if they proceeded through the criminal justice system. In the period1998-2009, there were 31 recorded murders of lesbian women and only one conviction. Only in Zoliswa Nonkonyana's case, was sexual orientation, for the first time, recognised as the motivating factor behind the murder, and even then, justice was not swift as there had been over 40 postponements to the case and it took almost six years for the conviction to be recorded.

The fact that there was currently no legal provision in the country acknowledging the influence of perceived gender identity or sexual orientation in motivating hate crimes indicated that there was indeed a need for specialized hate crime legislation. That had already been proposed, but had to be put in place before the issues could ever be addressed. All those failures in the current criminal justice system had created a perception that hate crime against lesbian women could be committed with impunity. That perception was strengthened when public figures made homophobic statements, or when they failed to condemn homophobic violence.

The Triangle Project recommended the need for more research to understand the scope of the problem. The non-existence of specialised hate crime legislation meant that homophobic motivation for a crime was never recorded, and if there was no legislation this would continue. There was also the need for a Parliamentary review of the National Task Team on LGBTI related hate crimes. It was suggested that there was a need for an assessment of sector participation, and campaigns that the Task Team had engaged in, and any results that they had produced. Human and financial resources had to be made available human and financial resources to enhance the work of the Task  Team. There had to be political will for advancement of its goals.

Research was also needed on how documents such as the Traditional Courts Bill and proposed policy documents such as the Green Paper on the Family depicted a specific view of gender and families, and how those implicit assumptions may feed discourses on homophobia that contributed to lesbian women being raped or murdered because of their sexual orientation. Finally, there was a need to find out why, despite the good policies and legislation the country was, according to so many LGBTI people, still failing them.

Ms L Van Der Merwe (IFP) said she was not convinced that national or provincial Departments were providing enough resources towards fighting GBV; as she had noted that as one of the recurrent themes coming through from the presentations from civil society. She questioned whether the State was thereby suggesting that civil society must play  its role in that fight with no money or support. She asked if the country had responsive criminal justice system, in view of the fact that there were so many reports of victimisation at hospitals or police stations, when wanting to report the crimes.

The Co-Chairperson said that because there were specific aims in this meeting, the audience could also feel free to speak if they wished.

Mr Wallace Mgoqi, Commissioner, Commissioner for Gender Equality, pleaded with some of the presenters to make available their presentations, as it would be helpful if he could have their written submissions when he attended a plenary session of the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) shortly. The CGE was most focused on monitoring the implementation of the laws and policies in the country, so it was good ammunition for it to know what was happening on the ground, in fulfilling that particular function. CGE would continue to monitor not only state departments, but also the public sector in general, as well as other institutions in society that were supposed to implement the provisions of the Constitution.

Department of Social Development presentation
Ms Connie Nxumalo, Acting Deputy Director General, Department of Social Development, said that it had become apparent through the presentations that the issues of collaboration, integration and resources were very important. She wanted to emphasise that the mandate of the Department of Social Development (DSD) in fighting GBV was that of prevention, and it should also ensure that the response mechanisms were in place(see document).

She noted that one of the concerns was that there was no legislation to regulate how shelters were established and as a result the DSD had developed a draft Bill, that was still to be processed, for public comment. The important issue with those shelters was that they were not registered and were operating under minimum norms and standards, and those standards were not enforceable. DSD was also concerned with whether there were enough shelters. When there was an abusive situation, DSD sometimes had to rule on who should be moved from the house, and the question was whether it was not in principle better to try to remove the abuser rather than building more shelters and inconveniencing children that should be going to school and keeping up their routines. The DSD also took note that many shelters had no programmes for children’s’ development and its was beginning to ensure that the shelters that were being renovated were made to be more like family units, so that they could accommodate children and had programmes for children. This might be difficult to enforce in the case of private shelters, but the DSD was negotiating with civil society organisations on how, within their facilities, it might be possible for them to run programmes for children, but that was of course linked to resources.

DSD had One Stop Centres that operated like the Thuthuzela Centres, but the one stop Centres focused on general abuse, including GBV, where there was inter-departmental collaboration in assisting GBV victims.

In terms of funding for the stakeholders in GBV, the State agreed that it had not done an analysis of what it was really investing in. Currently, DSD was mostly the provider for civil society funding, via National Treasury, but the funding was not nearly enough. It ran the comic strip programme “Everyday Heroes” which communicated issues of GBV, and targeted older persons, persons with disabilities, children, women and the entire family.

Ms Nxumalo set out the challenges. DSD faced several constraints such as the shortage of skills like social workers, although it was running a scholarship programme trying to train more social workers to fill the gap, and had also initiated a programme to support the efforts of social workers, such as para-auxilliary workers, community development practitioners, and child and youth care workers, who would all assist in fighting the campaign. The DSD had acknowledged that substance abuse was not the only cause of the problem, but was a major contributor to the problem of GBV, and to that extent it had mounted an anti-substance abuse programme. In South Africa, there was a perception, even though alcohol was regulated, that it was not a drug.

DSD acknowledged that the country’s criminal justice system was not working for its victims, as previously stated by the Women's Legal Centre and the Triangle Project, and as attested to in its victims' satisfaction survey of 2012. It had clear recommendations on how to move forward in making sure that there were proper responses, by way of court support programmes and ensuring legal representation for victims.

Ms Kholiswa Fihlane, Chairperson of the Multiparty Women's Caucus in the Eastern Cape, related incidences of GBV in the Eastern Cape and said that she like the proposal for a collaborative approach in tackling GBV in society, and a focus on family values in preventing GBV. She also welcomed the proposal of the National Council on GBV from the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities (DWCPD), as it believed that it was important to escalate and create awareness of GBV. Men perpetrating such violence were sick, and were giving others a bad name, and they should be singled out.

Ms Nomawethu Gqiba, Multiparty Women's Caucus in the Eastern Cape, believed that not enough was being done to support the common women, although she was not attempting to detract from the strides that had already been made in helping them. She also enumerated the atrocities of GBV against elderly women in the Eastern Cape. It was necessary to deal with the issue of initiation and, in doing so, needed to be aware of the cultural barrier of initiation. A particularly sad fact was that if an initiate died as a result of the initiation ritual, his mother had to go from pillar to post looking for death certificates and other documents, although she herself had not been permitted to play any active role during the process of circumcision. There was a need to ask awkward questions, and address the issue of whether, when a child fell sick at the initiation school, his mother should be permitted to see him.

The Co-Chairperson noted that she had observed that, as valuable as the contributions were, they also tended to be very emotional, and it was obvious that many of those present had themselves experienced or witnessed bad situations. She hoped that proposals would emerge from the contributions. She noted that it was a sorry fact that when a boy went to initiation schools, he would not have any substance abuse issues, but may return from that school with serious dependency problems.  She reiterated Ms Gqiba's sentiments about the burden that was placed on elderly women. She also said that many women would be aware of what needed to be done and said that perhaps they should come up with ways to move forward, which could be included in the Declaration document at the end of the session.

SAPS presentation
Ms Gloria Jezile, Gender Focus Representative, S A Police Services, took the audience through the attached presentation document.

She then presented the SAPS recommendations. The SAPS felt that there was a need to profile perpetrators as it had become apparent that they were within a certain age group category. If it was possible to find out why those men were committing those crimes, and what other issues were contributing to the enactment of such crimes, then SAPS would be better equipped to deal with them. Even though DSD had bewailed the shortage of social workers, Ms Jezile's own experience as a former social worker was that she had been overburdened with other DSD tasks and was not really able to get to and educate communities about primary prevention of GBV. There were no community resource centres to keep the country's young people busy and to remove from the temptation to become involved in criminal activities. Furthermore, there was a gap in the country's justice system so that even though police could oppose bail in GBV cases, it was still the court’s prerogative to grant bail or deny it.

Ms Hunadi Mateme, Representative, Safety and Security NCOP Committee, Limpopo Provincial Legislature, said that it had been noted, as early as 1992, that the country needed more female officers, magistrates and judges, and that the proportion of female service providers in the justice system should reflect the proportion of women in society. The main question was why the situation was getting worse, even if, as claimed, the SAPS and others were doing everything they could to minimise incidents. She proposed that, since there had already been a Green Paper on Family, there was a need to reinforce the programme on moral regeneration, as it would regenerate the family-values approach that had been flagged earlier.

She appealed to all of those who had capacity to recognise that the country needed a strong research focused stance to identify what was wrong in society, as the solutions being raised would never be able to make the impact wanted unless they were based on research. There was also a need to make sure that all this research was communicated in indigenous languages, to those whom it was intended to assist.

Ms Mateme alluded to a recent incident in CB Stores, where a middle aged female had been assaulted and humiliated on an accusation of stealing, and said that she was making a national appeal that all CB stores be boycotted until their behaviour changed.

The Co-Chairperson reiterated the importance of family values. Prior to 1994, parents tended to keep a far closer rein on where their children were, but drug and alcohol abuse and absenteeism of children had increased.

The Chairperson repeated that audience members were asked to come up with specific recommendations, rather than citing problems.

Continuation of Violence Against Sex Workers presentation
Ms Yingwana said that she would give some recommendations. Following up on earlier discussions, she cautioned that it was difficult to deal with “family values” because not everyone had the same sets of values. For instance, as a Rastafarian, one of her family values was that the family should not ea meat, but she recognised that she could not impose that on her fiancé. Perhaps it was better to concentrate on the concept of human rights as they were already enshrined in the South African Constitution. In regard to the comments on demilitarisation of the police, Sweat had already embarked on sensitisation training, but the argument could easily be whether that was civil society's responsibility. There had already been mention of the funding shortages. She asked if it would not, perhaps, be better to look into incorporating some of the manuals into the current SAPS training curriculum, or perhaps getting the State to fund the sensitisation training, as it had been well received and even endorsed by the Deputy Minister of Police, Maggie Sotyu. She said that the need for sensitisation of police would be continuous unless sex work was decriminalised.

She further noted that the SALRC was mandated by a former Minister of Justice to review the criminal law on adult prostitution, and wondered if it was possible that everyone could support a push to have the findings of that report released.

Ms Merle Mills, Human rights Defence and Lobbying Officer, SWEAT, said that one point coming out very strongly from this meeting was that most perpetrators of GBV were men. She had observed that men were very under represented at these proceedings, and she made the point strongly that one of the aims of all stakeholders should be to include and engage men, in order to reform mindsets and people's perceptions. There was also a tendency to have discussion papers, debates and submissions, and in the past there had been numerous engagements between different stakeholders, but after the meetings, nothing would actually happen until a new case was reported in the media, when new discussion forums and networks would arise, leaving the old discussions to decay. One case in point was a process that SWEAT started in 2000 with the SALRC, which had still not  been concluded.

Mosaic Training Service and Healing Centre for Women
Ms Kerryn Rense, Programme Manager, Mosaic Training Service & Healing Centre for Women, outlined the core functions of the Centre as dealing with domestic violence and other forms of GBV. She expressed concern that the proceedings for the day had not included any organisations who were working with domestic violence. Because domestic violence happened in the home, it was not often spoken about or revealed, and, in the Western Cape alone, her Centre came into contact with over 20 000 people per annum who were applying for victims' protection orders. That probably meant, if the statistics were brought in line, that over 100 000 people were affected by domestic violence in the province. There was a need to think seriously about it. Marital rape was never taken seriously at police stations around the country, with the perception being that since the victim had married the perpetrator, he had the right to take sex from the victim when he wanted to. Another challenge was that domestic violence, in itself. was not a separate crime. The Domestic Violence Act was in place, and there were implementation plans across different departments, but a person could not actually lay a charge of domestic violence, but a person could only lay a charge if there had been physical assault or harassment. Her proposal was that there should be consideration of the possibility of criminalising domestic violence in itself.

She noted that the question of disaggregation of statistics, as presented earlier as SAPS, was important. Every year, SAPS reported statistics differently, so that it became impossible to see whether there were improvements or stagnations in the efforts to fight GBV. There was also a challenge in accessing the domestic violence register at police stations. She was making a formal proposal that there should be open access to those registers to be able to obtain statistics as to how many reports there were of domestic violence being made at the SAPS, to really enable for a proper planning process on how to address it, based on real statistics of the prevalence of domestic violence in the country.

Women’s Shelters Movement South Africa
Ms Linda Furgard, Vice-Chairperson, Western Cape Women's Shelters Movement S.A. reported that at the current time, there were only 68 women’s’ shelters in the country, of which a third were not registered with DSD. That was not nearly enough as those shelters had waiting lists of women waiting to come in. This was unacceptably low, and she was also concerned that not all provinces had proper shelters. She felt that the provinces who did not have properly-run shelters should contact the Shelters Movement South Africa so that they could be assisted to get proper shelters, with programmes. Because of the lack of funding for shelters, the minimum standards that the DSD had flagged could not be met sometimes. The state only ran three shelters, and the other 65 were private shelters.

She recommended that a proper costing model be done on a proper best practice for a shelter, based on one that actually ran programmes, and this should be based on the real cost of running a shelter, and not on the amount of funding that they received.

She invited RAPCAN to a meeting where the two organisations could consult on how to address the lack of adequate children's programmes at shelters.

Women’s Movement  had made a recommendation on a shadow report in the Western Cape, that GBV perpetrators should  be moved out of the home. It had also asked for more departments to assist shelters, apart from DSD. Finally she asked that specialist NGOs be invited to write policies and to do research, so that, in addition to them being consulted by state research units on their research reviews, they could actually be part of the development of draft policies.

The Chairperson told the audience that as far as domestic violence was concerned there had been a public hearing convened in Parliament and that it had been widely publicised. The stakeholders' comments and complaints were separated out, and sent to the different departments. The portfolio committees who had convened that public hearing had then engaged with the difference departments, some of whom had given reports already. The committee were following up on those issue and would be inviting case stakeholders and civil society again to deliberate on those matters.

Ms D Rantho (ANC) said that there would always be no resources made available, if the attitude was that there were insufficient resources. However, it was necessary to look wider than the State alone. She noted that when MPs attended to programmes in their constituencies, there were a lot of organisations fighting GBV in their own little corners, and she suggested that they should heed the call for multi-sectoral collaboration interventions, join together in fighting GBV, as it was likely that joint and coordinated efforts would have a greater impact.

Ms Rantho asked if Rape Crisis had access points in other provinces. At Indwe Police station there was no social worker attached to assist GBV victims, even though there had been refurbishments to the police station. Additionally, in that same community, of about 6 000 people, there were 28 taverns and the issue of alcohol and its contribution to GBV could not be separated.

Ms Rantho felt that Embrace Dignity needed to market itself as well, so that even the illiterate rural community could know that there were people who could assist them in specific areas that Embrace Dignity covered.

Ms Rantho suggested that RapCan should also do research on the perpetrators of GBV, since there were some men who held the perception that they were born only to sleep with women.

The Co-Chairperson said that the issue of constituency funds that Ms Rantho had alluded to was quite an area of uncertainty, and it needed to be addressed, even if this took place at the end of the session. She cautioned that she would not want to find a queue of civil society stakeholders at her door demanding constituency funds. Whilst she understood where Ms Rantho was coming from, she thought that the issues needed to be expanded further.

Ms Nomalungelo Phethela-Ngcanga, Member, Eastern Cape legislature, reiterated that GBV had been underestimated as just a common crime. She said that there was a need for more advocacy on GBV, which should start from primary education and be carried through also by churches and similar community structures. Civil society tended to have a reactionary stance when it came intervening in GBV, and she agreed that there was not enough focus on prevention, and what was needed was an ongoing programme of prevention. The day before the start of campaigns against GBV, there was always a major report on a GBV crime.

Ms Phethela-Ngcanga noted that the DSD did in fact have shelters for victims, and she questioned why perhaps thought was not being given to totally removing the perpetrators also to a shelter, away from where they were committing the crime.

Ms Phethela-Ngcanga wanted to know from SWEAT whether there was a difference between sex workers and prostituted individuals. She asked what was being done about sex workers who did not belong to or were assisted by any organisation, as well as bisexuals who were not aware of the precautions they needed to take. The very same girls could be found charging no fees for sexual favours with foreigners. She believed that this form of behaviour was sex slavery and she wanted comment if anyone felt that her perception was incorrect.

Ms Phethela-Ngcanga commented also that, in relation to SAPS, there was a problem with DNA evidence processing in GBV prosecutions from the Eastern Cape, and the only laboratories that were functional were in Cape Town. Those delays, in the long run, affected victims’ willingness to pursue those crimes.

The Co-Chairperson invited Sweat to elaborate more on its work, saying that young women could frequently be seen on the side of the road, exposing themselves or provocative clothing. She wanted to know where the Sweat access points were in the provinces, so that they could be contacted to go and deal with those incidences and help the women.

Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities presentation
Ms Lulu Xingwana, Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities, said she would briefly highlight some of the aspects of the programme of the National Council on GBV. She was sure that everyone was aware that the rights of women were enshrined in the Constitution, and that various pieces of legislation that had been passed since 1994, such as the Domestic Violence Act, the Sexual Offences Act, the Children's Act, the Child Justice Act and many others. She listed the programmes, although she thought that they may have been mentioned by other departments, and said that these included family protection, child protection and sexual offences units under the SAPS, the Thuthuzela Care Centres and the Victim Empowerment Prrogramme at DSD. The Department for Women, Children and People with Disabilities (DWCPD) was coordinating the work that had been done already. It was ensuring a greater outreach to more communities. It was recognised that the State alone could not fight and end the scourge of GBV and this was the reason for the launch of the National Council of GBV. It had to  and also that they believed that they could not fight and end that scourge as the state alone, which was the civil society structures, faith based organisations, traditional leaders as well as women's organisations. The work was based on commitments made in the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and also on SADC protocols that it had signed and ratified. It was the responsibility of the Council to ensure that the rights of women and children were protected. The Council was in a process of finding a CEO to run the communication and coordination work.

Under the prevention pillar, the Council was seeking men mentors who could speak to young men in communities to say that GBV crimes could not be committed in the name of men. The white or green doors were houses that were being offered by the community to victims of GBV at any time of the day as a refuge until they could get further help.

The DWCPD also needed to relook at the Domestic Violence and Children's Acts to see where the gaps were and what could be done to tighten legislation.

The Co-Chairperson welcomed Ms L Mazibuko (DA) to the meeting and explained that, even though many MPs had difficulties in attending this meeting on a constituency day, she was grateful to see such good representation from the opposition parties.

Ms S Nkatlo, Representative: South African Local Government Association, said that the Association (SALGA) was mindful of the SADC resolution to consider the adoption of the legally binding SADC instruments on preventing violence against women and children, and to ensure that those commitments were translated into tangible action. SALGA believed that action needed to be smart, in the sense that issues should be dealt with as they arose. Women should not be silent on issues, and too many of them were still reluctant to speak out and to expose the problems. SALGA believed that it was time to speak out and report crimes, and said that women present today should be the “foot-soldiers” for others.

She noted that if cases were stagnating, then women should go to and keep going to the police stations until officers began to take them seriously.

She made a proposal that more resources should be geared towards a more pro-active approach, aimed at primary prevention, as that was a more sustainable way in fighting GBV. In the long run, there was a target of halving current levels of gender violence by 2015. However, she enquired how such levels would be measured, even if they were attained. Currently, there was no standardised monitoring and evaluation tool, except from the input that was made by the Minister, which could be applied across all regions. Being “smart” meant that the issues had to be approached in a simple, measurable, achievable and reliable way.

Lindiwe Mazibuko comment
Ms L Mazibuko (DA) said that she was very passionate about Parliament’s role in ending GBV, because she believed it was in its power to draw together resources from different strands of government, in order to address the entire spectrum of the problems that were plaguing society, state departments and the country, and that were preventing the nation from being able to address the scourge of GBV. She was disheartened by the video of the mother in Limpopo who beaten by security staff, whilst other female members of the staff at that store could be seen laughing in the background. She felt that the response the country had to that incident had not been the same as the response to the Anene Booysen and Reeva Steenkamp incidences, or to incidences of mothers who had been raped in KwaZulu Natal by members of their own families, or their own communities. It seemed that the country was becoming inured to the issues of GBV, and she had the perception that women were being expected to simply go and discuss this amongst  themselves, to figure out what they were going to do whilst the rest of society attended to more “pressing” issues. She would be sad if that was the pervasive attitude in Parliament, and liked to believe that there was enough political will to do something from there, especially in light of how much time was devoted to talking of the country's history and commemorative days.

Ms Mazibuko suggested that it would be quite possible to put together a multiparty ad hoc committee comprising of representatives from the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster, the Social Cluster and the Governance Cluster, to sit down and look at the legislation. and at the regulations, and the implications of the work that went on in Parliament on its communities.

She was happy to hear about the reviews to legislation affecting women and children. She believed that in the two cases involving sexual offences and the amendment of the legislation, Parliament had done a good job. The problem, however, lay in implementation on the ground. At the Umlazi Police Station, a senior officers said one of its problems with GBV cases was that there was a “one size fits all” approach to training of detectives in the Family and Child Safety (FCS) unit, training on the Domestic Violence Act, the Children's Act and Sexual Offences Act. That translated into a community being offered one member of the police service, per quarter, who would go and train at Provincial and national level. It assumed that there was am even distribution of resources, even though GBV violence prevalence differed vastly from community to community. That indicated that SAPS was not going to be training enough members, and fast enough, to  at address the measures that had to be implemented to slow down the rates of sexual violence and abuse in South African communities. That was merely on the justice side.

In addition, Ms Mazibuko noted that there were many general comments about moral regeneration, whereas she believed that the question should be asked as to what kind of society was being built, and why it was that in this society, women were treated like objects and their lives were considered cheap, and it was acceptable, even to some women, that other women be victims of abuse. Those were certainly question that the social portfolios could help answer. She did not think that GTV problems could be addressed by committees on women alone. Although it could be addressed by those committees, it was a society wide problem, therefore maybe the committees also needed to draw in men in society, from the public and private sectors to come and speak to the women, so that they could have a diverse set of views about how to deal with the crises of GBV. Hopefully that gathering would be a spring-board so that MPs could ask the Speaker to include those engagements in Parliament’s schedules.

MPs, current or present, represented the 25 million voters who kept them there as representatives. Current MPS would not be doing an adequate job if they prioritised electioneering over the  jobs of deliberating with the public about what was wrong with the society.

The Co-Chairperson reminded representatives again of the time constraints.

Ms Sharon Ludwig, Interim Director, Triangle Project ,wanted to suggest that the Department of Education must review the Life Orientation curriculum. She believed the Safe Schools Project was a great idea and Triangle was glad that SAPS was involved. Once off interventions, however did not work and so the Project was recommending that there be a proper citizenship component to the curriculum, that would be based on the Bill of Rights, from grade 1 to grade 12, that would explain and debunk common boy’s use terms, and educate boys and men on issues such as men and the rights of lesbians.

Ms Routledge added that she hoped to see the outcomes focused on pushing towards developing a national action plan. She asked the Minister to help clarify the language when it came to issues of prostitution, as it was clear that there was a need for clear policy. The UN Women’s guidelines on the development of a national action plan were clear that economic sexual exploitation was a form of violence against women. She thought, however, that there was confusion in terminology now because the message was going out to men and boys that it was quite acceptable to pay for sex. The focus should rather be on helping men and women to have mutually respectful relationships.

She noted that Embrace Dignity found that there were not enough organisations in the country that were willing to support women that wanted to exit prostitution, therefore, if possible, it would be desirable for the DWCPD and DSD to partner, and create facilities and support for women who wanted to exit prostitution. Although the SAPS had issued national guidelines, in practice, police officers were reluctant to arrest men who were buying sex, although the law was clear about that being a criminal offence.

There was a need to shift responsibility, so that women who were already victims became women who had power and choice, and all institutions should be very clear on that point. It was important for MPs to remember that 52% of their constituency were women, who would not vote for them if they were bleeding or dying.

Ms Mandy Mnyana, Embrace Dignity Activist, wanted to find out from DSD how women who wanted to exit prostitution could access housing. She pointed out that in the township and rural areas there was a lot of illiteracy, which contributed to the ill-treatment of women, so Ms Mnyana hoped that indeed those road shows the Minister had mentioned would happen. She said that victims were never followed up by the SAPS even if they had reported rape and, even after identifying a person, they would find him walking around freely or sharing taxis with them.

The Co-Chairperson asked for Ms Mnyana to see the conveners of the gathering at the conclusion of the proceedings.

Ms Claudia Lopes, Project Coordinator, Heinrich Ball Foundation, said she currently was coordinating a project that looked to enhance the stats and society responses to GBV. She questioned what would happen to funding that was not spent by certain departments. She pointed out that not everything came down to the question of money, as, for instance, the Department of Home Affairs might be able to assist with matters such as getting identity documents for children in shelters, or finding possible venues. There was also a need to look critically at the priorities; a study on shelters in Gauteng had recently found that the funding allocated for shelters was R30 per person per day, whereas Correctional Centres were getting R313 per person per day; there was definitely a need to look at improving the resources for women.

There needed to be better psychological screening for the SAPS, because sometimes the police raped crime victims when they were seeking access to services. There needed to be training for ward councillors as they did not recognise issues of violence against women, and also perhaps allocation of a budget for every ward that would go a long way in giving communities access to those services.

Ms Duduzile Dlamini, Sisonke Organiser, said that her organiser was doing outreach with sex workers every night, educating them on how to behave when they were working, and the contact details would be made available at the conclusion of the proceedings. When joining Sisonke a particular worker would sign a form committing herself to certain conduct as a sex worker. On behalf of sex workers and other vulnerable women, she said that women had lost hope and trust when it came to police officers and their communities, since they were not taken seriously when reporting sexual violence crimes. They were the most reliable witnesses of police misconduct, but they could not report it because of fear of criminalisation. When a sex worker was in police custody, she would often be denied access to ARVs, might be kept in the cells for the weekend and if she was carrying condoms, she could be arrested and the condoms regarded as the definitive proof of sex work. There was a need to cultivate trust from women who were vulnerable, as they were scared of reporting sexual violence, since the perpetrators often returned and victimised then again, often also by other police if the perpetrator was an officer.

The Co-Chairperson said that maybe Ms Routledge should sit with the Chairpersons of other committees and share what was happening.

Another Sisonke Activist said that the organisation was opposed to under age sex and public exposure of underwear. It had received a commendation from the Department of Health for the work it was doing in Bloemfontein. All Sisonke and Sweat were asking for was the decriminalisation of sex work, because the police, pimps and perpetrators were taking advantage of the sex workers for as long as the work was criminalised.

Ms Lynch agreed with the previous comment that it was better to focus on a human rights framework rather than a family values perspective, in response to GBV. The notion of family in the Green Paper on Families was skewed in very patriarchal gender ways, so the appeal was being made that there should be more specifics around what “family values” were. The intention was presumably to encourage parents to be responsible. In the broader sense, the “family values” perspective could also be used to marginalise very vulnerable individuals. She asked how, for instance, that perspective, as presently framed, would assist a woman needing protection from her abusive husband, or protect a lesbian girl evicted from her home as a result of her sexual orientation, or transform the fact that males in the home often controlled the finances, and allow women to be truly empowered.

Declaration : discussion
The Chairperson said that she would be reading through the entire document that had  been prepared arising from the meeting, and then amendments would be entertained. Please see the attached document.

Ms Mateme suggested a technical amendment and said that as the meeting was dealt with gender it was necessary to deal also with the issue of the boy child.

Ms Fihlane said that the issue of the justice system not assisting with prosecution of GBV; as perpetrators were really just saboteurs, should be addressed. There was a mention of DNA as stumbling block in prosecution.

The Chairperson re-read the part about criminal justice and asked if Ms Fihlane’s concerns were covered.

Ms Fihlane answered that her main concern was around the stagnation of cases. Where this had to do with the processing of the DNA, it often happened that  perpetrators were released without being prosecuted. She was not fully satisfied that the point had been addressed.

Ms Mateme tried to assist by saying that the stagnation of cases was the result of numerous factors, including 'inadequate human resource'. She reiterated that it had already been indicated that more female practitioners were needed in the justice system.

The Co-Chairperson said that she suspected that the members wanted to expose a gap that was in the system, but then they were now contributing to adding more. In fact, the Committee was seeking comment on amendments so that researchers could then construct those amendments.

Ms Nkatlo also made a technical amendment. Conscious efforts needed to be taken to retrace the man / woman relationship and that was related to issues that community elders had asked about the point that the country had reached. She believed that perhaps there would be a need for gender reconciliation efforts, where men and women came together under one roof and accepted that there had been things done or said that were harmful to the opposite sex. That could lead to further processes, such as, in HR processes, anyone working with frontline delivery would be properly assessed and trained to be gender-sensitive in the truest sense of the word.

The Co-Chairperson asked that all speakers address further enrichments to the declaration, and not revisit issues already debated.

Ms Gqiba said that she would like the Declaration to talk to intensive community education of both men and women on legislation that talked to rights of women, domestic violence and all other issues.

Ms Nxumalo said that it would also be wise to include a requirement to communicate in languages that were understood by all communities.

Ms Nosizwe Pakade, Researcher, Women’s Caucus, Eastern Cape, added that under the listing for what the country should endeavour to do, there should be inclusion of the endeavour to provide a platform for men to account for their role on that gender equality agenda. There should an addition also on the review of legislation governing the Department of Correctional Services, especially on issues around parole, as there seemed to be gaps resulting in departmental conflicts.

Ms Danielle Coleman, Post Graduate Fellow, Sweat, wanted to see clarification on what comprised “gender” and who was covered in each definition.

Ms Lynch added that she would like specific mention to be made of sexual orientation as well, as she thought it not enough to assume that using the term GBV would also encompass the full range also of hate crimes against LGBTIs. If it was not named, the killing and rapes could not stop, and the country would not be responding as it should.

Ms Xingwana expressed her thanks for the gathering and said that the issue of GBV cut across political and societal barriers.

Ms Joy Watson, Parliamentary Researcher, said that the Declaration seemed to capture all the proceedings of the day, but she just wanted to clarify that there would be both the Declaration and a report issued.  The report would contain most of the detail of the gathering, because it was impossible to put into the Declaration everything that had been discussed in the course of the day.  The idea was to isolate six themes within the Declaration and to keep them as broadly overarching as possible. For instance, there would be a focus on prevention, service delivery, expenditure, information and research, partnerships and collaboration and on registration and policy. The Declaration should not be too legislation-specific, although there were valid amendments suggested, such as incorporating the LGBTI sector.

Ms Fihlane said she fully appreciated what the Declaration was seeking to do but still asked that the expansions suggested needed to be included, as points of emphasis.

The Co-Chairperson commented that she should kindly withdraw part of her remark, which was inappropriate.

Ms Fihlane responded that she would withdraw that remark but explained that she had felt that Ms Watson was lecturing about what a Declaration was, when others clearly knew and understood what it would encompass.

Ms Nkatlo moved for the adoption of the declaration, which was thereafter seconded and adopted, with  amendments.

The Deputy Chairperson gave a vote of thanks, on behalf of the conveners of the gathering.

The Roundtable was adjourned.


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