MPs call for police, prosecutors and magistrates to be trained in handling of GBV cases
Cape Town - The justice committee has promised to follow up on the submissions made by civil society to tighten bail conditions and that prosecutors and judicial officers be trained to handle cases of gender-based violence.
MPs also said they would apply their minds on the submissions as they wanted to tighten laws against GBV.
Chairperson of the committee Bulelani Magwanishe said GBV cases had necessitated amendments to the laws of the country.
The National Prosecuting Authority recently complained in Parliament about budget cuts that would threaten the hiring of more prosecutors.
Magwanishe said the amendments to GBV laws would ensure there were measures in place to deal with the increase in these cases.
ANC MP Qubudile Dyantyi said it was their duty to listen to the presentations made by stakeholders.
“You have made your submissions, and we are clear as lawmakers that we will apply our minds to each and every submission,” said Dyantyi.
But civil society warned that police officers, prosecutors and magistrates were not properly trained to handle GBV, and they wanted the state to act on this.
Magwanishe said they would continue to engage with all stakeholders involved in these matters.
“We said the issue of statistics, the conviction rate and cases that are rolled (in court) is something we need to zoom into,’ said Magwanishe.
Professor Ann Skelton, of the Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria, said MPs must also look at the protection of children.
“I do support the idea that children need protection from people with a criminal record of sexual offences. This is what the National Sex Offenders Register seeks to do,” said Skelton.
Civil society organisations also called for tough bail conditions for those who are accused of sexual crimes.
Brenda Madumise and Onica Makwakwa of Wise4Afrika said they want the government to give law enforcement agencies to fight the scourge of GBV.
Makwakwa said they also want consequence management for officers who fail to act on GBV cases.
She said they want prosecutors to oppose bail in GBV matters.
Madumise said the prosecutors must oppose bail against people accused of GBV crimes.
“Bail has to be denied completely on all sexual violence cases,” said Madumise.