GBV victims suffer due to shortage of VEF in Gauteng

There is a severe shortage of victim empowerment facilities (VEFs) in Gauteng, while gender-based violence (GBV) runs rife in communities across the province.

Most of our VEFs are not adequately equipped with much-needed resources to support the victims of GBV.

Of the 143 police stations across the province, most of their VEFs are not victim-friendly. They do not have the necessary staff and resources, including rape test kits, beds, specific rooms to engage with the victims in a private space and social workers. The police officers are also not adequately trained to deal with the issues of GBV.

The DA, therefore, tabled a motion on gender-based violence in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL), demanding that the Gauteng Provincial Government must increase the number of VEF and ensure that they are well-equipped and accessible to the victims.

Below are the speeches delivered during today’s Gender-Based Violence (GBV) motion debate in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL):

Gauteng Department of Social Development:

DA_Refiloe _Nt’sekhe_GBV_DEBATE_SPEECH_2023

Gauteng Department of Social Development:


Department of Community Safety:


DNA backlog: SAPS must put proactive measures in place to decrease backlog to ensure justice for the victims of GBV

Great strides are being made in reducing the current DNA backlog in Gauteng. The SAPS Forensic Lab in Pretoria indicated that the backlog for Gauteng has been reduced to 5006.

As part of the Democratic Alliance’s 16 Days of Activism for no violence against Women and Children campaign; an oversight inspection was conducted at the SAPS Forensic lab today.

See the photos here and here.

During our visit, SAPS highlighted a number of interventions that have been put in place to address this serious backlog, which has a huge impact on survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) seeing justice being metered out.

One of the systems implemented is that of flexi time, which has allowed the lab to reduce the backlog. They have also introduced a two-stream system, which means that they have one group of people working on the backlog and another working on any new cases that they received.

A concerted effort has also been made to deal with cases that fall under the category of gender-based violence.

The SAPS forensic lab in Pretoria is the main office and in order to effectively carry out their work, they need a bigger space from which to operate.

Even though the backlog has been drastically reduced and some cases are ready to go to court, there is a delay in this from the side of the Justice Department.

The Democratic Alliance will be conducting a follow-up visit in January to determine whether the measures put in place by SAPS to address the backlog have worked, as this is by when the DNA backlog needs to be cleared.

In addition, we will also be liaising with our counterparts in Parliament, so that we can address the concerns around the delays from the Justice Department in prosecuting the cases.

The scourge of gender-based violence must be rooted out and cases that are reported to the police must be investigated properly and justice served as soon as possible. A court case that drags on only traumatises the survivor further.

The focus on gender-based violence should not only be for 16 days of the year but 365 days.

DA to assess progress concerning clearing the DNA testing backlog to ensure justice for the victims of GBV

As part of the 16 Days of Activism for No violence against women and children campaign, the Democratic Alliance (DA) Shadow MEC for Community Safety, Crezane Bosch MPL and the DA’s Shadow MEC for Social Development, Refiloe Nt’sekhe MPL and DA’s Spokesperson for Community Safety, Ruhan Robinson MPL will on Monday, 28 November 2022, conduct an oversight inspection at the SAPS Forensic Science Lab in Pretoria.

The purpose of the oversight is to assess why there has been a delay by the SAPS in clearing the DNA backlog in the province.

Earlier this year Minister of Police, Bheki Cele committed to clearing the DNA backlog by October 2022, but that did not happen. Cele has further announced in the recently held Gender-Based Violence (GBV) summit that the DNA testing backlog will be cleared by January 2023.

Despite the SAPS reporting that the national DNA backlog status has been reduced by 38.54%, from 143 795 in the first quarter to 88 374 in the second quarter of this year, the prosecution of many cases of crimes against women and children continues to be delayed due to DNA backlog.

There are 14 015 cases nationally which were prioritized for analysis since the inception of the NPA and SAPS DNA project in 2021. For Gauteng South, there are 1790 and in Gauteng North, there are 758 requests for DNA testing.

The DNA backlog has resulted in rapists being allowed to walk free while the lives of vulnerable victims are left shattered. This is unacceptable, a DNA test delayed is a justice delayed.

The DA will ascertain the progress concerning the clearing of the DNA backlogs and the challenges causing the delays.

Members of the media are invited and there will be an opportunity for interviews and photographs.

Details of the oversight inspections are as follows:

Date: 28 November 2022

Time: 10h00-11h00

Place: SAPS Forensic Science Lab, 730 Pretorius St, Arcadia, Pretoria, 0007

Another NPO is left in the lurch, young girls continue to suffer abuse

Despite the Gauteng Department of Social Development promising to conditionally register the New Life Centre (NLC) in Midrand, this NPO is still not registered and has not yet received any formal communication and funding from the department since 2017.

This centre which caters mostly for young girls who are victims of human trafficking, orphans, children of sex workers and victims of sexual assault is struggling to provide necessary care due to a lack of funding.

This shocking information was discovered by the GPL Social Development portfolio committee during an oversight inspection at the NLC.

NLC was established in Hillbrow in 2005 to aid and empower young girls who are lured into prostitution. In 2017, NLC moved to President Park in Midrand and applied for registration and funding from the department.

It has not yet received any feedback from the department concerning its’ registration and funding applications.

The DA has since learned that the department came to remove all the girls and called their sex worker parents to come and collect their children. This is unacceptable, as it was done without evaluating the home environment and determining the safety of these girls.

Within a few days of experiencing various forms of abuse, most of the girls called the NLC founder in tears and begged her to come and fetch them from their parents and as they wanted to return to the centre.

Legally, the department may have been correct as the centre is not registered, but it compromised these girls morally and ethically by placing these girls back in the abusive environment from which they originally came. The department should have found an alternative shelter to house these girls.

If the DA was in government in this province we would have communicated with the founder in 2017 and immediately ensured there is funding available for this critical NPO to take these abuse children out of their abusive environment. When the DA is in power, we will not ignore or leave NPO’s in such a state of neglect or return the children to such a negative environment.

The safety and well-being of these young girls is of utmost importance to the DA, and we demand that a proper evaluation be conducted by the department’s social workers.

These young vulnerable girls deserve a conducive environment that caters for them, and the DA will fight to ensure that the NPO gets the needed funding as soon as possible before it is forced to close down and the vulnerable children are forced to be returned to very unfavourable and debilitating circumstances.

DNA backlog denies justice for victims of rape and violent

An increase in the backlog of DNA tests has resulted in justice being delayed for the victims of rape and violent crimes as thousands of suspects have been released without their DNA samples being taken.

The backlog in the processing of the DNA tests continues to cause much more unnecessary pain for the victims of rape and violent crimes, and their families who wish for justice and to close a horrible chapter and memories in their lives.

There are reports that thousands of prisoners have been released without their DNA samples being taken, while thousands of people were raped in the last quarter of last year.

This is extremely worrying as the backlog is increasing due to new cases that are coming in daily.

The victims are left suffering and waiting for answers while the perpetrators of rape and violent crimes are roaming freely.

The DNA test backlog will result in delays in prosecution as DNA is the most critical evidence needed in the criminal justice system. Such backlogs can lead to cases being struck off the roll due to no evidence produced in court.

The DA demands that new measures are put in place to ensure that the backlog is cleared and that the DNA tests are completed in a timeous manner. We will also continue to engage with both provincial and national governments to demand the blacklisting of all rapists and be publicized so that the victims and anyone can log in to check whether the rapist has a track record of rape cases or assault cases against them. This will also assist in ensuring that the perpetrators face the full might of the law.

DA shocked by Tembisa Hospital murder

The Democratic Alliance is shocked by the murder of a nursing assistant by her partner at the Tembisa Hospital this morning.

According to the Gauteng Health Department, a 30-year-old police officer entered the hospital with a state vehicle and called his 30-year-old partner to the parking lot where he shot her dead, and then turned the gun on himself.

This is one more example of our violent society where people are mercilessly attacked even in hospitals and schools.

Last month the deputy principal of a Tembisa school was murdered while driving out of the school gate.

Emergency workers have also been attacked and robbed in Gauteng.

This latest incident also highlights the scourge of Gender Based Violence, with the added twist that it is perpetrated by a police officer who should be upholding the law not breaking it.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the victim.

Victims of sexual assault suffer double trauma due to a shortage of rape kits

Madam Speaker,

I previously raised concerns about the SAPS Green Door project, and I am raising it again because we are in the period of 16 Days of Activism of no violence against women and children and in fact against all vulnerable groups.

Over the past weekend, a rape victim went to the Roodepoort police station where she was sent away because the police station did not have any rape kits. The victim then went to three different police stations where none of them had rape kits available and eventually got assistance at a Netcare facility.

Speaker, I want to suggest that Public Safety in collaboration with SAPS and the Department of Social Development should assist the Rapid Response Teams to deal with cases of sexual assault.

There is also a need for sensitivity training of all officials when dealing with sexual cases, particularly the police officers, and all police stations must have rape kits available. All police stations must also have social workers readily available to assist victims of sexual assault and violent crime.

I also want to suggest collaboration between Public Safety and the Department of Health in terms of collecting data on gender-based violence (GBV) and sexual assault, this will help to guide the Public Safety and other departments in directing funding to assist the victims in the future.

Damning report on security gaps in Gauteng hospital sexual assault cases

A damning report by the Gauteng Health Department has identified security gaps at the three hospitals where mental health patients were allegedly sexually assaulted.

The following security gaps at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg, Tara and Bheki Mlangeni hospitals were identified in the report which was presented yesterday to the Gauteng Legislature’s Health Committee:

1. The areas for mental health users were not suitable to admit them.

2. There was insufficient to no security interventions.

3. Where security interventions were done, the areas where incidents directly happened do not allow for intruding on patients’ privacies e.g. when the mental patients are at the toilet.

4. The mental patient who alleged that he was raped cannot give a good explanation of events due to the nature of his mental status.

In the case of another alleged rape which was at the Stanza Bopape Clinic and involved a staff member and a male patient, the staff member was suspended immediately and SAPS was involved. A Chairperson was appointed by the Office of the Premier and the hearing was supposed to happen on 5 November.

No shelter for abused people in Tembisa despite being top 3 GBV hotspot nationally

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is disappointed to learn that there is no shelter for abused people in Tembisa, Ekurhuleni despite Tembisa being identified as the number three national hotspot for gender-based violence.

This information was revealed by the Gauteng Department of Social Development MEC, Nomathemba Mokgethi in a written reply to the DA’s written questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL).

According to the MEC, there is no shelter for abused people in Tembisa.

This is very worrying because there is a high number of gender-based violence cases being reported in Tembisa. According to the recent gender-based violence statistics of the top 30 gender-based violence hotspots presented by the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, Tembisa ranks third nationally.

Furthermore, there are not enough social workers in the area considering the population of over 512 000 people as the department has only deployed 40 social workers in Tembisa.

It is high time that the department consider working with the NGOs in the area to establish a shelter for abused people in Tembisa.

The DA will continue to put pressure on MEC Mokgethi to establish a facility for abused people in Tembisa to ensure that the victims and survivors of gender-based violence receive prompt and effective services and prevent secondary victimisation of the survivors.

We further call on Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko to ensure that the Green Door programme is prioritised to provide adequate and effective services and support to the victims and survivors of gender-based violence in Tembisa.


MEC Mazibuko not doing enough to curb the scourge of gender-based violence in Gauteng

The Gauteng Department of Community Safety has failed to roll out nine Green Doors meant to ensure that the victims and survivors of gender-based violence receive prompt and effective services and prevent secondary victimisation of the survivors.

This information was revealed in the department’s first quarter report for the 2020/21 financial year.

According to the first quarter report, the department had a target of rolling out nine Green Doors.

This target was not achieved, and the reasons given by the department for non-achievement is that due to lockdown, no green doors were erected because of the inaccessibility of the homes.

A Green Door is a safe space in the community that is at least 5kms away from a police station and run by community members. It offers debriefing, containment and referral to necessary stakeholders such as local NGOs, SAPS, and courts. Green Door is a link between the community and SAPS, and the victim can stay up to 6 hours at the site.

The department’s failure to establish Green Doors clearly indicates that the ANC-led Gauteng government cares little about ensuring that the victims of gender-based violence are protected during this difficult period of lockdown as a result of the deadly Coronavirus pandemic.

With the increase of gender-based violence cases across the country during the lockdown, the department should have prioritised the establishment of Green Doors in the province instead of using Covid-19 as an excuse.

The DA calls on MEC Mazibuko to ensure that these Green Doors are prioritised to provide adequate and effective services and support to the victims and survivors of gender-based violence.

The DA has also tabled a Community Safety Private Members Bill which will ensure that cases of domestic and interpersonal abuse are treated with the concern they deserve by creating specific offences with serious consequences for those who fail to assist the victims in accordance with the duties placed on them by the Act, such as the police  officers and court officials.