File. Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane

JOHANNESBURG - The Gauteng community safety department on Wednesday said it was investigating the disappearance of 597 women who were reported missing in the province since last year.

A week after the Democratic Alliance raised the alarm about the shockingly high figures of missing women, the department said the cases "were being given priority".

"I am shocked to learn that out of 597 women reported missing between January and October 2017 only 151 were found. Where are the other 446 women?"  DA Gauteng MPL Kate Lorimer said.

Member of the executive council (MEC) Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane said it was not clear who the source of the statistics provided by the DA is. 

The department’s mandate was to play an oversight role over the work of the law enforcement agencies in the provinces.

“The department would like to state categorically that the above allegations are misleading. According to our statistics provided by the [South African Police Service] SAPS in the province, 597 women were reportedly missing in 2017 of which 151 them were found. The missing women are of different age categories. All the remaining cases of missing persons are being investigated until finalised,” said Nkosi-Malobane.

Nkosi-Malobane has raised concern over the rate of missing women cases in Gauteng during the presentation of the budget vote speech. Accordingly, law enforcement agencies in the province were putting emphasis on ensuring that all cases reported to the police were given priority. 

Nkosi-Malobane said the department remained committed to creating a safer environment for citizens in particular women and children to ensure  that they walk the in the streets of the province free from any criminal elements.

African News Agency (ANA)