Minister Lamola says bigger criminal issues must be thwarted at community level

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Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola says the only clear deterrent to gender-based violence and femicide or any form of crime is for communities to root out social ills. He made the comment during an address to hundreds of community members at an imbizo in Indwe in the Eastern Cape.

Indwe has marked a sharp rise in cases of violence against women.

Lamola says communities must work with law enforcement agencies to combat the scourge of GBV effectively.

The Minister adds that the issue has to be addressed from a community level where there is a prevalence of domestic violence and rape cases being recorded.

“In a majority of the cases, some of them [perpetrators] have already been sentenced to prison. This does show that we need a lot of awareness in the community to deal with it [gender-based violence] in order to uproot the scourge at a societal level,” says Lamola.

The community of Indwe was vocal about the levels of crime in their area and how it affects their lives. Community members have said they sometimes take it upon themselves to manage the issue of crime.

“We, in our village of Qoqodala have embarked on a mission as women because when we call the police they don’t take any action. So we are dealing with the situation ourselves. When we find the perpetrator, we deal with them accordingly,” says a community member.

Another member of the community revealed that drug abuse was the biggest factor contributing to rising levels of crime in their area.

“The main problem here in Emalahleni Municipality is drug abuse. Ever since drugs came into this area, things have become worse. We try as communities to fight this habit but it’s hard. Alcohol is not a problem but drugs are the main contributor to the problems here,” comments a resident.