Bheki Cele labels violence against women a societal problem as SA fumes over yet another murder
Cape Town - The justice system should make it as difficult as possible for suspects accused of gender-based violence (GBV) to be granted bail, Police Minister Bheki Cele said on Saturday. The minister was commenting on the recent surge of cases across the country.
Cele made the comments while accompanying Gauteng Police Provincial Commissioner, Lt-General Elias Mawela a crime-fighting operation called "Okae Molao" in Soweto.
The minister's comments come as South Africans took to social media to express their anger at the brutal murders of, among others, of 21-year-old Tshegofatso Pule, 34-year-old Sibongiseni Gabada and Naledi Phangindawo. All three women are believed to have been killed by men who they knew or were in a relationship with.
On Saturday, the hashtags #JusticeforSanelisiwe, #WomensLivesMatter and #SisterLeave trended as news of yet another young woman's murder spread. Sanele Mfaba's body was found in Dobsonville Gardens on Friday. According to Gauteng SAPS spokesperson Captain Kay Makhubele, she was murdered elsewhere and her body was subsequently dumped under a tree in an open space in Dobsonville Extention 3. Her boyfriend, a taxi driver, has been arrested and the taxi believed to have been used to transport her body has been impounded.
Also on Friday, a 28-year-old man was arrested after the bodies of a mother and daughter were found in Belhar, Cape Town.
Many people accused the police minister of being more concerned with policing the consumption of alcohol which is once again available for sale since the start of level three of the national lockdown.
Gender-based violence is a societal problem and families should play their part by ensuring that they know who their daughters are going out with when they leave home, Cele said. He emphasised that while law enforcement and the judiciary needed to bring those responsible for harming women to book, the problem needed the whole of society to work together.
President Cyril Ramaphosa, meanwhile, has called on all South Africans to end the culture of silence around gender-based violence and report perpetrators to the police.
According to Ramaphosa, ministers and deputy ministers, aside from meeting community leaders in all districts around the country as part of efforts to combat Covid-19, will be engaging communities on the upsurge in gender-based violence "so that everyone can work together to prevent the killing of women".
“It is a dark and shameful week for us as a nation. Criminals have descended to even greater depths of cruelty and callousness. It simply cannot continue,” Ramaphosa said on Saturday.