Hundreds of activists from the Social Justice Coalition marched to Parliament yesterday, demanding intelligence-led, evidence-based and responsive policing as the crime statistics were released in Parliament. Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency ANA
Durban - Zolile Khumalo and Siam Lee are just two KwaZulu-Natal women who made headlines this year as victims of crimes against women and children.

However, the crime statistics show their deaths were not isolated incidents as KZN has been revealed as the most dangerous province for women and children.

It was revealed that 2930 women were murdered in the country, with 665 in KZN - the most in the country.

There were more boys killed than girls countrywide - 691 compared with 294. In KZN, 130 boys and 91 girls were killed.

Dr Linda Naidoo, an independent child protection specialist, said this had been her fear for several years.

“South Africa has all the legislation, policies, strategies and programmes in place, but we are lacking in prevention.”

Naidoo said over and above South Africa being a violent society, patriarchy played a major role in how women and children were treated.

“Men think it is imperative that they discipline the women and children in their lives, and at times even total strangers.”

Challenges to what was perceived as the man’s role - to wield power and control - often led to aggression, which manifested physically, she said.

“We need to look at where this is coming from and whether children are being raised to believe this is what being a man is, before they become perpetrators themselves.”

Having worked with offenders convicted of crimes related to violence against women and children, Naidoo said they were also often used as scapegoats for unrelated issues, like the tough economy that was costing the country jobs.

“We need to change these patterns of behaviour and get men to stop looking at women and children as lesser beings,” she said.

Andre Lewaks, the manager of MenCare South Africa, a global fatherhood campaign run in partnership with Sonke Gender Justice, agreed.

“Where there is an increase in a certain crime, the government will add more police resources, which, while it is important and goes a long way to deal with the symptoms of crimes against women and children, does very little to prevent them.”

Lewaks said what had been missing was the inclusion of men in early intervention programmes.

“When men and boys become involved in such programmes, they gain an understanding of what gender equity is and learn to respect, and be supportive of, women as equals,” he said. On Tuesday, the DA’s Women’s Network picketed outside the Phoenix police station, following the discovery of the body of a child. DNA tests are being done to determine whether it is that of kidnapped Miguel Louw.

In a memorandum to police, KZN chairperson Shehana Kajee pleaded that child abduction be prioritised, with only senior detectives assigned to them.

The memorandum was accepted by Colonel Teddy Munusamy, the head of visible policing at the station.

The Mercury