Justice Minister Ronald Lamola has expressed shock at the number of gender-based violence cases in the Vhembe district of Limpopo.
The minister was officially opening a sexual offences court in Sibasa outside Thohoyandou.
Courts in Vhembe are grappling with alarming rates of gender-based violence. More than 13 000 cases are open in the region. These include rape, domestic violence, murder case as well as assault.
Lamola has bemoaned the number of cases, and the level of lawlessness in the country.
“The law is not lenient. I gave the stats of the sentencing in the last two years. More than 600 people are on life sentences; more than 1 500 are on sentences beyond 25 years. The difficult thing is our society is general lawlessness. People no longer respect the rule of law and that they think when you commit a crime the chance of you being convicted is low, and that is what we need to correct.”
The opening of the court brings to 94 the number of sexual offences courts across the country.
Gender activists say the court will accelerate prosecution rates in the region.
Gender activist Rinae Sengani says, “It will also give the NPA and the government priority in taking sexual cases seriously because we don’t have to go through the Magistrate and High Court. There is no traffic anymore.”
Ten more sexual offences courts will be opened across the country before the end of 2019.
Lamola has also reiterated the need to debate the introduction of a Sexual Offenders Register.
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