Cape Town - Government officials will be trained to deal with hate crimes against gays and lesbians, in a Department of Justice-led task team’s plan to curb attacks.
Established in 2011 of government officials and NGOs, the team has to review policy and legislation on hate crimes and recommend how to prevent it. For some time the team’s work has been halted by an unstable relationship between civil society and government departments. Last year two NGOs had pulled out because of delays and lack of progress.
Since then, the task team has been able to establish its terms of reference - one of the sticking points - started a process to audit hate crime cases in courts and drawn up a plan of action for the next year.
A meeting is planned for today to identify and fast-track pending cases in the criminal justice system.
Department spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga said Justice Minister Jeff Radebe wanted a speedy resolution of these pending cases. The action plan included sensitising government officials. “Work has started on an audit of available training materials to sensitise government officials to the service needs of LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) people. This will feed into the development of new curricula.
“The new training module will be available in 2014 and will sensitise officials and equip them with needed competencies,” Mhaga said.
Member of the task team Dawie Nel director at Pretoria-based OUT, an NGO for the well-being of the LGBTI community, said after many teething problems the team was moving in the right direction.