A 24-year-old man has been arrested by the police at Setlagole village, near Mahikeng in the North West, in connection with the murder of his 22-year-old girlfriend.

The suspect allegedly assaulted the victim, who died a week after admission in hospital. She had been in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

This comes a week after Police Minister Bheki Cele announced that more than 87 000 gender-based violence complaints had been reported in the country in the first week of the national lockdown.

In the video below, Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane expresses concern over GBV:

North West Police spokesperson Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone says police are investigating the case.

“We can confirm that a case of murder has been opened for investigation. A 22-year-old woman was allegedly assaulted by her boyfriend on the 31st of March and it is being investigated. The incident was reported on the 1st of April and that’s the same day that this woman was taken to the local clinic for medical examination. She was transferred to Mahikeng provincial hospital and then again transferred to Tshepong hospital in Klerksdorp. She allegedly passed away on the 7th of April.”

North West premier Job Mokgoro has condemned the incident.

“We are extremely concerned about that. We view GBV as something that has to be dealt with in the most severe way possible. It cannot be tolerated at all.”

In the video below, GBV activists lament impact of lockdown domestic violence:

UN asks governments to prioritise GBV

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on governments everywhere to make prevention and redress of violence against women a key part of their national response plans for COVID-19. Antonio Guterres said in a statement that while lockdowns and quarantines are essential to suppressing the virus, the restrictions could also trap women with abusive partners.

Guterres called for a collective effort to prevent violence everywhere from war zones to people’s homes as the world works to beat COVID-19.

“That means increasing investment in online services and civil society organisations. Making sure judicial systems continue to prosecute abusers, setting up emergency warning systems in pharmacies and groceries, declaring shelters as essential services and creating safe ways for women to seek support, without alerting their abusers. Women’s rights and freedoms are essential to strong, resilient societies.”

In the video below, gender activists say they are concerned about the worldwide scourge: