DURBAN - THE CRIME statistics released for July to September this year have painted a grim picture of the ongoing fight against gender-based violence and femicide, after nearly 10 000 rape cases were reported in just three months.
Police Minister Bheki Cele announced the crime statistics for the quarter on Friday, where the minister said the rape statistics were once again shocking.
Cele said 9 556 people were raped between July and September and that the figure increased by 634 cases, amounting to a 7% surge compared to the previous period.
Gauteng recorded 2 054 cases, followed by KwaZulu-Natal with 1 860, Eastern Cape 1 553, Western Cape 1 009, Limpopo 834, North West 777, Mpumalanga 691, Free State 6 017, and Northern Cape 191.
A sample of 6 144 rape cases revealed that 3 951 were committed at the residences of the victim or the perpetrator, 1 179 in public places, and 177 in a bus, car or taxi.
In an effort to stop gender-based violence (GBV), the provincial government led by Premier Sihle Zikalala has roped in traditional leaders to be at the forefront of fighting the problem.
Zikalala met with different sectors of society, including clergy, traditional healers, NGOs and taxi operators to rally them behind the cause.
He said his intentions were to ensure men played a significant role in protecting women and children.
He added that the government had been waging a relentless campaign, mobilising different sectors of society to turn the tide against GBV, homophobia and hate crimes.
“I call on men to be the bedrock of our society through supporting the agenda of Generation Equality by being exemplary in supporting women empowerment, fighting patriarchy, ending gender-based violence and eliminating child abuse,” Zikalala said. He also called on the amabutho to be exemplary to young boys by teaching them the true values, character and responsibilities of trustworthy men.
Zikalala spoke at Emphandwini sports grounds in Umbumbulu, south of Durban, over the weekend during the commemoration of International Men’s Day under the theme: “Better Relations Between Men and Women.”
The theme guides all men around the world to examine their relations with the women around them and to strive to have better and improved relationships with girls and women in their lives. This is an important task that is given to men and boys.
Zikalala said it was never the culture in traditional Zulu society or many African societies to repress women and relegate their role to second-class citizens.
“We must work together in ensuring that the relationship between men and women reflects unity, collaboration, partnership and harmony. The protection of women and children is everyone’s responsibility in our society. As a government, we are very pleased by the initiatives of the Department of Social Development to bring all sectors to play a role in the fight against the scourge of gender-based violence,” he said.
He was joined by Social Development MEC Nonhlanhla Khoza and MPL Bishop Vusi Dube, traditional leadership, religious leaders and amabutho.
Khoza said measures were in place towards ending GBV but challenges remained persistent, coupled with an increasing incidence of abuse, rape and murder of women, children and LGBTIQ+ members in communities.
“It is important that we all work together in building our nation, because we cannot claim to be free while women and children are being abused. We are aware that it is not all men who are abusers, rapists and killers, and we are grateful to them.”
Khoza said she had met with the late Zulu monarch, King Goodwill Zwelithini, last December when they agreed to visit different traditional areas to ensure that all amakhosi had dialogues with young men to protect women and fight gender-based violence.