Durban - A Phoenix man, who was caught on camera assaulting his pregnant girlfriend when she found him with another woman, has been arrested.

Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbhele said the 26-year-old man appeared at the Verulam Magistrate’s Court on Monday, charged with assault and contravention of a protection order.

The couple cannot be identified due to the protection order.

The incident, which happened at a Mount Edgecombe shopping centre, has come to light as the country observes 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children.

In the video, it appears that the incident began as a confrontation between the man, who is with another woman, and his girlfriend, who says she is pregnant.

Read: Caught on camera: Man who beat pregnant girlfriend

The other woman with the man confesses to being married but says her husband knows she is “jolling”.

The verbal altercation continues and they walk out of the frame.

The trio are then seen caught in a scrum and the man punches his girlfriend in the face several times while holding her by her hair.

She is bent over and holds on to the other woman, who also has her head down before the video ends abruptly.

Voices can be heard in the background shouting “haibo” as the pregnant woman is hit with punches to her face and head.

Other bystanders look on from a distance.

Palesa Mpata, the spokesperson for People Opposing Women Abuse (Powa), said on Monday that one of the reasons gender-based violence was so rife in South Africa was because people did not want to get involved.

“People sit back and say ‘If it’s not happening to me, it’s not my problem.’ That’s unacceptable,” she said.

Powa has developed an application with a panic button that immediately calls the police or ambulances in critical situations.

They also have a speed dial to their gender-based violence command centre, where people are on standby to assist.

“We need to realise that when a women is killed by her partner every eight minutes, it is a crisis,” said Mpata.

She said victims of abuse were not always aware of mechanisms to help them - such as protection orders although, in the present incident, a protection order had been sought.

Violations of the order should warrant immediate arrest.

But this was not happening, said Commission for Gender Equity spokesperson, Javu Baloyi.

He said men who were violent by nature could not care less about protection orders, and law enforcement agencies were enabling this behaviour.

“Some men tear up the protection order in front of the police when they deliver it, and nothing comes of it,” he said.

The commission will be holding various programmes throughout the country during the 16-day campaign. They include harmful practices seminars in Richards Bay and Newcastle, and legal clinics in Mbumbulu and Swayimane.

* Independent Media’s campaign “Don’t Look Away” is being run during the 16 days of activism to encourage people to become proactive in their communities and to get involved with initiatives seeking to eradicate violence against women and children.

The Mercury