Durban – President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday a newly established “cold case” task team had started “analysing” 785 000 dockets relating to sexual offences in South Africa.
“This is progress, it is almost like a lazer beam type of focus on gender-based violence (GBV) and we are making sure that we are making resources available. Cogta has enrolled over 200 000 women in a community works programme, representing 79% of the recruits, to do work on GBV,” he said.
Ramaphosa made the statement during an oral question and reply session in parliament.
“We are making progress and we are doing quite a lot,” he said in response to Democratic Alliance leader John Steenhuisen.
Steenhuisen had accused the president of talking about putting measures in place to lessen incidents of GBV but not following through.
The president said the government was being strengthened in its efforts to tackle its high GBV and femicide rates by women’s groups, who had contributed to what was needed in the much vaunted council on GBV.
The council is yet to be established, but Ramaphosa said it would be “effective”.
“That council is not going to be a talk shop. It is going to be a council that will have a majority membership of civil society entities across the country, and they are going to be having hawks’ eyes on every effort that government needs to implement.”
Ramaphosa said more than 200 permanent social workers had been hired to attend to the “critical issue” of psycho-social support services for survivors of GBV and femicide.
Steenhuisen had told Ramaphosa he made “endless commitments”.
“Mr President, you have on many occasions both inside and outside this house made a variety of commitments to deal decisively with GBV, yet the ANC’s actions, and on the ground results, show that GBV is clearly not a priority of this government.
“The crime stats released last week show very clearly that under your first term as president, the number of sexual offences and rape have increased, and there is a catastrophic backlog in the processing of DNA tests, amounting to almost 100 000 cases, denying thousands of victims of gender-based violence recourse to justice.”
Ramaphosa said it may look as if progress was slow, but that government was implementing the “strategic plan” that was drafted by South African women.
“We are (taking) steps and we are moving forward,” he said.
“We are spreading the message and we are also ensuring that we can work on preventative measures that need to be taken.”
African News Agency (ANA)