The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development says it’s dealing with over 50 000 cases of gender-based violence and femicide in the country annually.
The department announced an awareness campaign in Potchefstroom in the North West. The campaign is aimed at raising awareness as part of commemorating human rights month.
A five-kilometre walk from Ikageng Magistrates Court to Madiba banquet hall in Potchefstroom was undertaken to raise awareness against gender-based violence.
According to the South African Police Service, 988 women were killed between April 2020 and September 2022 in incidents of gender-based violence and, according to Pule Mpolokeng, from the justice department, the Ikageng area is a hotspot.
“We do estimate over 50 000 cases in the country about domestic violence-related matters and also about the protection of harassment. There are two separate processes and then here in JB Marks Municipality, especially at Ikageng.”
“Ikageng is number one, based on domestic violence and harassment in the whole province and also it is one of the top 30 areas whereby domestic violence and protection of harassment complaints are laid,” said Mpolokeng.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in the province says lack of credible evidence means that many cases are not successfully prosecuted.
NPA’s Eileen Viljoen says prosecution of some cases is only strong as witnesses.
“So, if a witness is not a good witness in court, the prosecution asks the question from a police docket from what is written in a police docket, in a form of a statement by the victim, but if the victim comes to court make very different stories or version of the events happened, it becomes more difficult to find that person to be credible and it makes (it difficult for) the court to make a conviction,” said Viljoen.
Some of the survivors revealed the trauma they suffered due to gender-based violence.
“It was too painful. I lost everything in my life. I had to restart my life from my marriage, my kids, my family … even the place I was staying at I had to lose it because of that rape,” says one of the survivors.
“When I was nine years I was raped by my stepdad, he was staying with my mom. So I did not want to tell my mom because I was afraid,” says another survivor.
Ntaoleng Monyatsi of The Ikageng Trauma Centre confirmed that they are experiencing an influx of victims of gender-based violence and that they are faced with many other challenges as well.
Ikageng Trauma Centre, Manager Ntaoleng Monyatsi says they need donations.
“We need clothes, so that we can give the victims, to change into after they bath. We also request donations of clothes from other stakeholders and we also receive a lot of donations from the churches,“ she said.
The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development has urged members of the community who are being abused to report such cases to the police.