Michele Clarke, the DA spokesperson on community safety in Gauteng, told reporters at the protest that police were ill-equipped to react to the scourge.
"We do visit stations throughout Gauteng, and at every police station we have visited they say they do not have the resources to police crime actively like they should. Above that, I feel that their front desks [in police stations] are not trained to deal with this kind of crimes when women arrive there after they have been raped," said Clarke.
"Women have actually lost confidence in the police. The rape statistics in this province are a lot higher. Some women don't report these crimes because they are not well treated when they arrive at the stations. In some instances they are told to go and sort out your issues and a case will not be opened. Often, murders occur with domestic violence through partners."
DA supporters and members of the LGBTI community during a picket outside a police station in Arcadia, Pretoria, on Tuesday. PHOTO: ANA
Clarke said for South Africa to turn the corner, in the wake of numerous reported cases of women and child abuse, the SAPS had to adopt a new stance.
"The police have to change their attitude towards the way they deal with domestic violence. That is critical and if we do not do that I cannot see us resolving what is happening in the country," she said.
The party structure said it would be taking their fight to the office of Gauteng community safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane and SAPS provincial commissioner Lieutenant-General Deliwe de Lange, to ensure that there was movement on a number of cases that have been reported at different police stations.
"Anybody who is here who has a case that has been followed through, I will make sure that these families get that information. There is nothing worse, after having lost a child, then you do not get feedback on the case. Nothing is worse," said Clarke who is also DA Gauteng deputy chairperson.
The protest was also supported by members of the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community.
Guest speaker, Lerato Phalakatshela, a hate crime manager at OUT, a clinic for the LGBTI community in Pretoria, said his organisation had joined in the protests "to show police and everyone else that LGBTI people are people".
"Women's rights, and the rights of the LGBTI people are very important and they need to be prioritised. We want the police to see us and to hear us. A lot of people – lots of women who are lesbian – are being killed in the country. These are vulnerable groups that need to be protected," said Phalakatshela.
DA Member of Parliament Marius Redelinghuys said: "We are told that there is a rapid response team. Where is that rapid response team when we know and we read that black lesbian women are being raped, men who chose to express their true identity are being chased out of town, not before they are beaten to a pulp. When you go to the police, there is no sensitivity.
"There is no understanding and there is no appreciation of the diversity that this country is."