The Eastern Cape government is calling for tighter laws to punish those who commit acts of violence against women.

Premier Oscar Mabuyane says 181 cases of rape were reported to the police in the Eastern Cape in June alone.

Mabuyane was speaking at the provincial government’s women’s month closing event.

“Our laws put too much emphasis on upholding the rights of individuals who violate the rights of others. Men have no rights to violate women, thus punishment for such violations should send out a clear an unambiguous message on whose side the law is on when it happens.”

“Otherwise if the law is not tightened we will still have this challenge of GBV in 2056 when we celebrate the 100th commemoration of women’s day.”

On Friday, the Commission for Gender Equality said it wants a complete overall of Gender-Based Violence data collection.

The commission hosted a webinar with a number of stakeholders, including the police and researchers, on statistics that look at Gender-Based Violence during the lockdown.

In the video below, the number of GBV incidents reported since the start of level 3 of the national lockdown has increased:

Concern was raised that there is no capacity for effective stats collection.

Experts on gender issues believe that Gender-Based Violence increased during the lockdown, but statistics coming out of government departments and non-governmental organisations are not giving a clear picture of the situation.

In the webinar, the Gender Commission raised concerns that various government departments were quoting different statistics, some claiming that Gender-Based Violence went down while others said it had spiked.

The commission Chairperson Tamara Mathebula said the problem is capacity. “There were reports of increased GBV; there were reports of increased domestic violence in South Africa. There has been an absence of institutional capacity to generate relevant and accurate statistics of Gender-Based Violence and this absence of institutional capacity has made things worse in terms of making sure we sit down and plan as a country on how to effectively respond.”

In a report, the commission has put together on GBV under lockdown, it recommended a review of the way in which statistics are recorded and classified.

Commissioner Dibeela Mothupi says GBV shouldn’t be bundled with other crimes such as assault as is currently the case.