State of Shelters in South Africa
Accounting for work in Progress? Assessing progress on the establishment of a national coordinating structure on gender based violence
Policy Brief 18: Policing violence against women-assessing local police stations
The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) briefed the Committee on its study assessing the work of SA Police Service (SAPS) in combating violence against women. The study sought to assess the work of state institutions in their continued efforts, plans, programmes and strategies to combat gender based violence, examine the relevant national and local interventions to combat crime, and scrutinise the work of selected SAPS Police Stations in line with the Domestic Violence Act of 1998.
The emerging issues from the study included strategic leadership challenges, institutional capacity and GBV-related internal structures and relevant intervention programmes and initiatives. The CGE made recommendations.
The Committee asked if there was any monitoring on the progress cases; how East London gave positive results even though there were high levels of rape in the area; asked the CGE about deployment and the number of times Commissioners visited East London; how persons with disabilities were assisted when reporting cases at police stations across the country; if there was any collaboration between CGE and nonprofit organisations (NGOs) in the provinces, especially around issues of gender-based violence; if CGE had an opportunity to engage and compare report statistics and numbers with the police station to see if it matches.
The Committee noted challenges of violence against women and children were mainly in the rural areas and townships, however police stations in these areas were less resourced than those in urban areas. Additionally, gender-based violence happens to women most of the time in all the provinces. However, there were more men than women working in police stations. The Committee asked why only six police stations were selected for the CGE study when there were 1 154 police stations in the country. The Committee asked why the CGE reports were outdated and if there were follow-ups since those dates, to obtain the current status. Members asked about the number of shelters in Limpopo, Eastern Cape, and North West; what constraints Commissioners faced in reaching all the areas in the Eastern Cape; and about the CGE’s engagement with the provincial police commissioners. The Committee said much work and training was needed in traditional spaces to eliminate patriarchal norms and open up spaces to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, queer and questioning (LGBTIQ) community.
Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) Investigative Report
Ms Jamela Robertson, Chief Executive Officer, CGE, took the Committee through the presentation.
The presentation was of the CGE study assessing the work of SA Police Service (SAPS) in combating violence against women. The study sought to achieve the following objectives
-Assess the work of state institutions in their continued efforts, plans, programmes and strategies to combat gender based violence.
-Examine the relevant national and local interventions to combat crime, particularly violence directed against women and children.
-Scrutinise the work of selected SAPS Police Stations in line with the Domestic Violence Act of 1998 (one of the primary legislative instruments for the SAPS to deal with violence against women)
The approach was primarily qualitative and utilised in-depth interviews with the Station Commanders, Deputy Station Commanders or other relevant officials in at selected SAPS Police Stations. A total number of 12 police stations were initially identified and approached in four provinces. However only six police stations agreed to participate.
The emerging issues from the study included strategic leadership challenges, institutional capacity and GBV-related internal structures and relevant intervention programmes and initiatives.
Recommendations made include:
- It is necessary for SAPS to develop an internal national programme of action. This is to educate and sensitise its senior officers, especially Station Commanders, Deputy Station Commanders, and other related personnel, on key national policy and legislative frameworks, dealing with gender based violence and violence against women.
- Such an internal programme should also focus attention on clearly defining the role of the SAPS in general and police stations on the ground, in implementing national programmes of action to combat gender based violence and violence against women.
- The SAPS should strive to develop and/or enhance current multi-sectoral arrangements with other key departments, for example, Women’s Ministry, and institutions such as the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to enhance inter-departmental or inter-agency collaborative working relations, to address the scourge of gender based violence and violence against women.
- SAPS police stations should provide appropriate training to senior as well as ordinary police officers to equip officers with the necessary skills to plan for and implement effective medium to long term programmes of action, to combat violence against women in policing precincts.
The Chairperson said she was particularly interested in the Omotoso case in Port Elizabeth (PE). As the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee, she went on three site visits there and spoke to the lawyers representing the victims. The Chairperson and other members mobilised communities to support the victims. She asked if there was any monitoring on the progress of the case. She also asked how East London could report positive results even though there were high levels of rape in the area. She asked the Commissioners about deployment, and the number of times the CGE Commissioners visited East London. The Chairperson said Committee Members got calls from people staying in the Province, asking for the address of the CGE office in East London. She said she also did not know where CGE offices were located in the Province, and this was concerning.
She noted a case raised by Ms T Mgweba (ANC), where young men in the village harassed and raped older women. The Chairperson did not remember the name of the village. The Chairperson went on some site visits, and during the site visits, visited police stations in Pretoria. However, she was concerned by the high number of challenges the Eastern Cape has.
She said Ms Robertson presented reports on the year 2018 and 2019, and it would be better to get an updated status of police stations in the year 2021. An updated report would have presented a more accurate picture. The Chairperson said it was important to make follow ups when doing research, to ascertain and present the current status of the situation. This will assist in determining exactly what the Department is dealing with. Ms Robertson and Commissioners have a responsibility to continuously monitor. Data and information presented for the years 2018 and 2019 is no longer factual, as there is a possibility progress was made. Continuous monitoring will assist Members in addressing issues effectively. The Chairperson referred to the case of forced sterilisation of women who have HIV. As the Committee, Members made sure to meet with the Health Portfolio Committee, so when the Minister and the Department makes presentations, the Committee is able to make informed suggestions. The Committee will discuss the Eastern Cape case with the Justice Portfolio Committee, which has a good working relationship with the Committee.
Mx Busisiwe Deyi, CGE Commissioner, thanked the Chairperson. She said the Omotoso case took place before she started her duties as Commissioner. However, having been updated by Ms Tamara Mathebula, Chairperson of the CGE, and the Office, the case was monitored until 2018, and afterwards the case was postponed, as magistrates changed.
The Chairperson asked Mx Deyi which Commissioner she took over from.
Mx Deyi said, as a part time Commissioner, she is second in command. There is usually a primary Commissioner who does the bulk of the work. Where this Commissioner fails, Mx Deyi comes in to assist.
The Chairperson asked which Commissioner Mx Deyi was working with.
Mx Deyi said, initially she was with Commissioner Ntuli-Tloubatla, but now she is with Commissioner Mbuyiselo Botha. The Eastern Cape was a very traditional province. Mx Deyi said, as a visibly lesbian woman there were difficulties in the Eastern Cape, as a lot of the work is with the traditional houses. Commissioners encountered various issues including the traditional houses expecting women to wear dresses and presenting themselves in a particular way.
Mx Deyi said Mr Botha coming in was to help balance the situation, with an understanding of the dynamics. She visited some villages in the Eastern Cape where she was invited by the traditional authorities. Oftentimes, she perceived she was not being taken seriously. She does not present in a way which is approachable to traditional patriarchal officers.
Mx Deyi said her interests were with the LGBTIQ persons, and with such legislation. She drafts, gives input, and seeks out meetings with various high-level persons. Commissioners intervene not only at the case level or on the ground, but also at the policy level. Mr Botha was recently part of the Nelson Mandela gender conversation. Mx Deyi noted, with the Eastern Cape, some of the difficulties include how Commissioners can intervene. Taking for example the Omotoso case, Commissioners must intervene in a manner showing solidarity to the victims, but must also maintain independence. When a victim raises an issue around SAPS impropriety or propriety, she can intervene as the CGE, and its independence will not be compromised. While the CGE endeavours to show support and engage in these cases, the engagement must be balanced. Commissioners cannot be representing the CGE, and also supporting, in a very public manner.
The Chairperson said Mx Deyi was not responding to her questions. The Portfolio Committee worked with the CGE and knows exactly what its role is. The CGE previously told the Portfolio Committee it did not want to work on small or individual cases, but rather on high-level cases, or matters of national interest. The Committee refused. It refused because it was important for the CGE to represent the people where there are issues, and to attend to individual cases.
The Chairperson reiterated her question regarding the CGE monitoring the Omotoso case. The Chairperson said it was clear from Mx Deyi’s response that the CGE had not monitored this case. She noted Mx Deyi’s concern about the traditional leaders in the Eastern Cape, saying it was loud and clear, and it was something Members of Parliament also endured when doing site visits in Kwazulu-Natal (KZN). She was aware it was not fitting to wear trousers when approaching Chiefs in KZN. Members were advised by people residing in the KZN to dress a certain way when approaching traditional leaders. Members followed this advice because Members wanted to show the traditional leaders respect and adhere to their rules. Members could not impose Members beliefs onto the area as this will go against the residents traditional norms. The CGE was supposed to discuss this issue in its planner, particularly how to navigate around these issues. The Chairperson said she thought Mr Botha was deployed in Limpopo and Gauteng.
The Chairperson said there were many people complaining about the non-existence of the CGE in the Eastern Cape. This was why she raised those questions on behalf of the Portfolio Committee. It was important for the CGE to acknowledge where the work was not done. She does not want Commissioner Mathebula to be the CGE spokesperson. Commissioners must respond accordingly when questions are directed at a Commissioner. Only at a later stage can Commissioner Mathebula come in to respond and make additional comments. She was aware the CGE was working on policy and if there was anything the Committee did not understand it can call Commissioner Mathebula for clarity.
The Chairperson said the Committee will also be following up with Commissioner Nomasonto Mazibuko on the Tsakane case. Each Commissioner will be asked about the status of cases in the areas the Commissioner is deployed to. The Committee will not be lenient on Commissioners because Members of Parliament are criticised for not doing oversight. The Committee will make the CGE and Commissioners accountable. The Chairperson asked Mx Deyi to reply to her question about East London. Afterwards, Commissioner Tloubatla can come in to reply as she is deployed in KZN.
Mx Deyi thanked the Chairperson. She said the East London results have to be viewed considering the fact there are not monitoring tools needed to be able to monitor and bring the relevant results. There are positive results because there are not monitoring tools to highlight the various issues to be aware of within the Province. The Eastern Cape (EC) is a vast Province. Mx Deyi said she heard and discussed the issue of rape of elderly women with the EC office. One of the consistent issues in the Eastern Cape is around processing evidence. The Eastern Cape depends on the Western Cape for processing forensic evidence. There is no forensic processing medical space.
The Chairperson agreed with Mx Deyi’s point on the lack of forensic processing. She said this issue was all over the news.
Mx Deyi noted, while she attended various meetings with the EC office, she established there were no simple things such as rape kits. The question was how one then collects and stores evidence in the rural context. The positive results do not reflect an accurate picture, but rather an indication of a lack of proper monitoring mechanisms within the Province.
The Chairperson said CGE itself does not have a monitoring tool.
Mx Deyi said CGE developed a monitoring tool but it was still in the process of being approved through plenary on the 26th of March. Issues in the Eastern Cape were multi-layered. There were also issues of collecting and storing evidence, so the cases reported can be consistent and kept properly for final processing. There are no storage facilities in the rural areas and some rural areas do not have police stations, or even police visibility. Residents have to travel long distances to report a crime.
The Chairperson said it was not only the Eastern Cape which had those issues, but also KZN and the Northern Cape. CGE must inform the Portfolio Committee of its proposed interventions to these issues, particularly how it is going to assist people. Once the Portfolio Committee makes recommendations to the House and it is adopted, these recommendations must be implemented. The Committee developed its own tool to trace and track resolutions to make to the Department, CGE, and the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), accountable for resources taken. The Committee wants to verify the hours Commissioners are claiming, against the work done. This will give an understanding of what Commissioners were working on.
Commissioner Tloubatla thanked the Chairperson and the Portfolio Committee. She agreed she was the lead Commissioner responsible for the Eastern Cape for three months. When she was given the responsibility, she started doing internal work and trying to understand what the Eastern Cape entailed. Ms Tloubatla’s understanding was there were common gender related problems experienced. Each province had its own specific challenges.
Firstly, she discussed with the team internally and then the provincial team. She explained the importance of responding to individual cases, to the team. It formulated a plan and implemented it, particularly the strategic part of it. She also educated the team on how it could attend to grassroots people, using the high impact programmes in implementation. There was stakeholder engagement in the Eastern Cape. As she emphasised to the provincial team, it was imperative for her to have one-on-one meetings with stakeholders and beneficiaries.
Ms Tloubatla said there was a fruitful meeting with the legislature in the Eastern Cape. The team was also introduced to the women's caucus in the Province. Gender equality, exploitation, transformation, and parity were discussed. It was a robust engagement concerning gender related challenges which need to be attended to. Ms Tloubatla mentioned she was always available to assist the Eastern Cape as it requested information or advice on various issues. She worked with the Nelson Mandela municipality and had a good relationship with it. The CGE was also involved the municipality in its activities. Ms Tloubatla said CGE interacted with stakeholders and the LGBTIQ community. During this engagement it shared the challenges faced and how the legislation was not assisting people, because people continue to be attacked and exploited.
Ms Tloubatla said she engaged with a faith-based organisation in the Eastern Cape, on the role the church can play in the implementation and attainment of gender equality. One of the churches she interacted with a great deal was the Anglican Church, because it requested engagements with the CGE. Through this engagement, CGE realised it could learn much in transforming its churches and making sure it plays a role in gender equality. Ms Tloubatla said she worked closely with a health friendly society, which was a good project by the Anglican church, assisting in grooming young girls to be assertive, responsible, and to be future leaders. The project also allows young girls within the Anglican church to play a role in society. Ms Tloubatla participated in a civil society forum where she shared best practices and discussed how issues of gender transformation could be attained. The Forum invited the CGE to another engagement to assist on issues of gender relations and economic empowerment of women. She said the link between gender-based violence and economic empowerment was very central. The follow up meeting was attended by the backup Commissioner, therefore she was better placed to respond on the status of the engagement.
In her engagement with the House of Traditional Leaders, she shared the issue of Ukuthwala, as it was very key in the Eastern Cape. Further engagements were supposed to take place, but because of CGE’s culture of rotating Commissioners, she was deployed as the lead Commissioner for Mpumalanga, and the backup commissioner for KZN. In summary, the Eastern Cape does see the value of the CGE. It appreciates the work and support it receives from the CGE.
The Chairperson thanked the Commissioner and asked the Portfolio Committee to present its questions.
Follow Up Questions
Ms M Hlengwa (IFP) thanked the Chairperson, Committee Members, and the CGE. She welcomed the report presented by the CGE, and said the issue of gender-based violence was a sensitive one. Ms Hlengwa said the Eastern Cape was not as vast as other provinces, like KZN. She asked the CGE to provide clarity on the issue of monitoring. Ms Hlengwa also asked Mx Deyi to confirm the work she was doing in the Eastern Cape.
Ms T Masondo (ANC) thanked the Chairperson, Committee Members, and the CGE. She asked about the number of shelters in Limpopo, Eastern Cape, and North West. It was important for the Committee to have this information. The problems in Eastern Cape were many, especially pertaining to GBV. Ms Masondo asked about the constraints Commissioners were facing in preventing Commissioners to reach all the areas in the Eastern Cape. Shelters were selected specifically from areas which service large communities, and in both urban and rural communities. She asked about the Commissioner working in Mpumalanga.
Ms F Masiko (ANC) thanked the Chairperson, Committee Members, and the CGE. She welcomed the presentation from the CGE. Ms Masiko asked about the CGE’s engagement with the Department of Police and Provincial Police Commissioners. She also asked about the issue pertaining to the conduct of the police. She wanted to know if there has been any formal engagement with these bodies and structures.
Her second question was on the state of the GBV across the country in the police stations. She noted the report addressed issues of GBV relating to women particularly, but she did not hear about children and persons with disabilities. Ms Masiko asked if children and people with disabilities were being accommodated. She also asked about the work, or collaboration, which took place between CGE and nonprofit organisations (NGOs) in the provinces, especially around issues of gender-based violence. She wanted to know if CGE had an opportunity to engage and compare its report statistics and numbers with the police station to see if it matches.
She asked how many persons with disabilities were assisted when cases are reported at police stations across the country. She asked if these persons are able to receive the assistance of a sign language interpreter to enable such persons to report cases.
Ms T Mgweba (ANC) thanked the Chairperson, Committee Members, and the CGE. She welcomed the presentation by the CGE. She raised two issues. She said the village where young boys were raping and harassing older women and men was called Lady Frere in the Emalahleni area. She asked Mx Deyi to follow up on this issue. She referred to the issue the Chairperson raised concerning the CGE wanting to work only on high level cases, or cases of national interest, rather than individual cases. She asked Commissioners to brief the Committee on developments made on Ms Mkhonza’s case.
Ms Mgweba said the Portfolio Committee must meet with the Department of Police and the Department of Justice so it can raise its concerns. Urban police stations were well resourced. However, police stations in the rural areas were not. This is where most of the challenges are. Challenges of violence against women and children were mainly in rural areas and in townships, but the police stations in these areas are not well resourced. The meeting with the Department of Justice and Police will provide an opportunity to establish why urban area police stations were better resourced than the police stations in the rural areas. Ms Mgweba said the Portfolio Committee can acknowledge there were a lot of challenges in these provinces, and it was its responsibility to ensure there was oversight and accountability.
Ms P Sonti (EFF) thanked the Chairperson, Committee Members, and the CGE. She referred to the previous meeting and apologised to the Chairperson for logging off before the end of the meeting. She said it was due to technical difficulties.
Ms Sonti said the communities or the victims lost hope in the police, because of how the police treat victims when victims report cases. The police take a long time to intervene and investigate when cases of GBV are reported. The attitude and service of the police was very poor, especially pertaining to GBV. Reported cases tend to disappear and the perpetrators are left to be roving around in the communities without any consequences. Ms Sonti said the relationship between female and male police officers was concerning. There was a female station commander in her village, which is Marikana, who ended up leaving the police station and transferring to another because of the pressure she was put under. She worked very hard and commanded her colleagues. However, she was not happy and left. Her male counterparts undermined her as she was a female. Ms Sonti said women were undermined in all the spaces women occupy, regardless if the woman is educated. She noted gender-based violence happens to women most of the time in all the provinces, and it is concerning to see police stations have more men than women. The question is why there are less women or female police officers than men. There was no longer the Community Policing Forum (CPF) in the communities because of lack of resources. Due to this, women were not safe. Women were attacked and killed by criminals. She asked for resources to be provided, so CPF can resume working.
Ms N Ntlangwini (EFF) thanked the Chairperson, Committee Members, and the CGE. She said the date of the report, which was 2018 and 2019, was very concerning because the current year is 2021. She thanked the Chairperson for her intervention and fast response to the complaint sent over the weekend, regarding an incident which happened at Khayelitsha police station. The case involved a young lady who was brutally assaulted, and the police’s involvement in not reporting the issue, and not playing an active role to get her perpetrators.
She said the issue in the Eastern Cape reported by Mx Deyi on the traditional leaders was concerning. It is concerning to see a Commissioner unable to work because of her sexual preference. It shows much work and training is needed in those traditional spaces. As women, we cannot be told what to wear and what not to wear, regardless if it is in a traditional space or workspace.
Ms Ntlangwini said some work of engagement needed to be done in this area with traditional leaders, regarding opening up the space to the LGBTIQ community. She agreed with Ms Masondo, regarding information on the number of shelters per region being crucial, as this will give the Committee effective oversight in all of those shelters. She said there were 1154 police stations in the country, but the CGE study was on only six police stations. She asked why specifically six to form the study, noting there were 1154 police stations in the country. There was a big gap between six and 1000.
Ms A Hlongo (ANC) thanked the Chairperson, Portfolio Committee, and CGE. She agreed with Ms Mgweba and Ms Sonti, saying most of the time, CGE recognises cases on social media platforms. There are however, cases in the rural areas not being attended to or given attention. This is why perpetrators are released within two weeks without consequences. Another issue was, during the lockdown period most perpetrators were not taken in by the police, on the basis of police cells being full. Police said police were adhering to the COVID-19 regulations. During this time, most victims were sent home and told victims could not be assisted due to the COVID-19 regulations.
The Chairperson asked Ms Hlongo if she was assisted with the case regarding the children.
Ms Hlongo said she was assisted. She said the Department of Social Development called her for assessment.
The Chairperson asked Ms Hlongo to brief the Committee to ascertain if interventions worked.
Ms Hlongo agreed to brief the Committee after the Department of Social Development concludes with the assessment.
The Chairperson thanked Ms Hlongo. She said the issue raised by Ms Ntlangwini on traditional leaders not allowing Mx Deyi to do her work must be investigated. The Chairperson asked Mx Deyi to provide the places where she was prevented from doing her work. She also asked CGE to provide the names of the police stations which refused CGE to conduct its research. She said it was not correct for the CGE to be prohibited from doing its work as it represents Chapter Nine of the Constitution. She asked the CGE to provide answers to Members questions.
Mr Botha (CGE Commissioner) thanked the Chairperson and Portfolio Committee. He said he was happy the Portfolio Committee was holding Commissioners accountable. Mr Botha said CGE was informed, when conducting research with government institutions, the research must be centralised. He said he also discussed this issue with the Provisional Commissioner in Limpopo.
The Chairperson asked if this rule or law was documented.
Mr Botha said he was not certain if the rule was documented.
The Chairperson asked for a specific name of the person, so follow ups can be made with the relevant department.
Mr Botha said he would give the name to Ms Mathebula, who will then forward it to the Committee. He said there was only one shelter in Polokwane and the others were Victim Empowerment Centres (VEP), located at the different police stations. There was only one shelter where victims could stay for six months, the others were overnight shelters. Mr Botha said within the Limpopo area, there were nine VEPs in Capricorn, 18 in Mmopane, 12 in Sekhukhune, 10 in Waterberg and 23 in Wemberg. He said CGE had investigative hearings with the police, where it invites the Commissioner of police to provide an update on the state and workings of the police in the country. This gives the CGE insight regarding if it is working. It worked with an NGO called Tlakwane, which focuses on men’s programmes. The NGO mobilises men to stop GBV. He said the men’s parliament was housed in the Office of the Deputy President and he frequently attends the meetings to represent the CGE. This was an example of how the CGE was working with stakeholders.
Ms Masiko asked if the CGE reverted back to the police stations to present its findings after conducting research. This would give police stations an opportunity to respond accordingly.
The Chairperson noted the issue raised by Mx Deyi was a violation of rights and amounted to gender discrimination. The CGE must investigate the matter.
Mr Botha said he was concerned government institutions did not respect the CGE and its powers. He said CGE did revert to police stations with its findings, but unfortunately the police have not put those measures in place. CGE needed help to get attention and respect from government institutions. CGE does not use the law at hand to get things done, and this was perhaps because of fear of political repercussions.
The Chairperson said this was a sign it recommended the wrong people to serve as commissioners. She thanked Mr Botha for acknowledging weaknesses. She said CGE represents. The CGE does not even make follow ups. CGE represents Chapter Nine of the Constitution, therefore it is important for CGE to make work, make follow ups, and hold institutions accountable for not implementing CGE’s recommendations. CGE has the support of the Portfolio Committee, and it must not be intimidated by anyone not to do its work. Criticising people constructively does not end relationships. A positive mind will correct and improve, where there is a need for it.
Ms Tloubatla said she worked at grassroots level in Mpumalanga and attended to individual cases. She worked with the wives of Chiefs and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA). She also worked with Widowhood, which comprises of women whose husbands worked for the government. One of the issues the women brought up was about income tax. The women said after their husbands passed, the women were taken to a higher tax bracket and income tax increased. The women engaged the South African Revenue Service (SARS) on this matter. CGE also attended to a case where a girl was questioned on her dress code. Another case pertained to a person with albinism whose body parts where used for traditional purposes. CGE has been monitoring this case. Ms Tloubatla said the case was with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and CGE was awaiting a resolution. She said she was active on the case about a girl who was raped on Women’s day.
Ms Mathebula (CGE chairperson) confirmed CGE invoked Section 12 and 18 of the Constitution, as it was important for both the public and private sector to take the CGE seriously. In September and October of 2018, CGE invited the leadership of the SAPS for an engagement. Also in May 2019, CGE invited the National Commissioner and all the nine Provincial Commissioners. During this meeting CGE tabled issues related to resourcing, training, and capacity building. This meeting yielded a lot of discussions. CGE research was initially supposed to cover twelve police stations however the other six police stations declined. The names of these police stations are as follows: Yeoville, Duduza, Mdantsane, Polokwane, and Tlhabane.
Ms Ntlangwini asked why the police stations declined and asked what the recourse was.
Ms Mathebula said the police stations were not ready to participate. The CGE also reported this issue to the Portfolio Committee on Justice.
Ms Mogale said CGE worked well and very closely with police stations. The police stations were cooperating. There was a lady who was accommodated at one of the shelters and her husband was harassing and threatening to break into the shelter. The CGE intervened from the Commissioner level. It had meetings regularly with the police stations to give feedback on the work it was doing. On Thursday 25 February, it met with the Department of Social Development in the Free State to give feedback on the issues with shelters and VEPs. The feedback was well received. She said NGOs assist when women with disabilities report cases of violation at police stations. However, it becomes an issue when NGOs are not available to assist at the particular time. In cases like this, women with disabilities are told to come back at a later time as the women cannot be assisted.
She said the CGE acknowledged reports were old, and there was a need to renew recommendations. It undertook and commissioned the research department to bring back a list of all the reports which were done, and to write a paragraph of what the hypothesis was, the year, and recommendations. She was aware of the lack of credibility associated with old data, for example, the Sexual Reproductive Rights Report was completed in 2014, and the report on justice inequalities in the Judiciaries Report was completed in 2016. However, at a meeting with the Justice Department, CGE was told there were a lot of changes. This is why it took a systematic decision to review all outdated reports. It will present the updated report from the research department at the next meeting.
Ms Mazibuko said CGE not only visited police stations, but also hospitals. It was also working closely with hospitals. It visited court to follow up on Ms Mkhonza’s case. The case was still under investigation. CGE will be visiting court again in April to get an update.
Ms Mazibuko noted the issue of people with disability was vast. CGE recently came back from the Tsakane police station, where it met with the Station Commander, who is unfortunately leaving on 31 March. It arranged another meeting to ensure the Station Commander hands over appropriately to his Deputy. Ms Mazibuko will be working very closely with Ms Mogale, and visiting police stations. CGE has a six point plan which speaks to people with albinism.
When deaf people come to report cases at the police station, these people are not assisted. CGE is working hard to rectify this. This also includes children. There is a need for children to be taught the right terminology to be able to report cases. Ms Mazibuko mentioned the importance for women being economically empowered. She said people with disabilities must be looked after, and she will be working with the Human Rights Commissioner. She said 18-year-old girls were left to fend for themselves and this was problematic.
Ms Mothupi noted CGE established good working relations with traditional leaders. It engaged traditional leaders on the role patriarchy, culture, and traditions, play in GBV and discrimination against women. There were engagements in Barolong, Batlokwa, and Bakwena. CGE was invited by traditional leaders to address and have a dialogue with the community on GBV. The traditional leaders and community acknowledged the information the CGE provided was an eye opener, and there was an entrenchment of patriarchy within the communities.
Ms Mothupi said the male traditional leaders were more receptive of the information presented by the CGE, whereas the queens and princesses had difficulty accepting this new information and seemed to feel a need to defend those traditions oppressing women. The COGTA also sent a representative to attend and be part of those engagements.
Ms Mothupi said CGE had good working relationship with SAPS in the Province. It raised the issue of people with disabilities to the NPA. It has a contract with the University of Free State to assist with people with disabilities. The contract was coming to an end soon. It was also working with an organisation called Disabled People South Africa. However the police stations located on the outskirts had difficulties accessing assistance from these organisations.
Ms Mothupi said it had one shelter in Wepener, one in Welkom, and another one was recently opened in Bothaville. The shelters were exclusively for victims of GBV. There were other shelters in the Province. There were other NPO’s assisting in this regard. The Department was not aware of some these NPO’s, and this was an issue raised. It was important for the Department to follow up with NPO’s which were not registered, as its responsibility is to provide services to victims of GBV. Those responsibilities cannot be delegated. CGE raised an issue of the Department not doing oversight for shelters which are not registered.
The Chairperson thanked the CGE and Committee Members. She said the CGE must present its monitoring and evaluation tool in the next meeting, towards the end of March.
The meeting was adjourned.
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