South Africa: Is Gender-Based Violence Not a Serious and Violent Crime, Minister Cele?

analysis

Minister of Police Bheki Cele proudly announced to the nation on Sunday that he was happy with recent crime stats since the beginning of the Covid-19 lockdown. He said 'serious and violent crimes numbers were down', a fact he attributed to the ban on alcohol.

Police Minister Bheki Cele announced new crime statistics while the figure of reported gender-based violence (GBV) statistics increased to an alarming rate of 2,320 complaints during just the first week of lockdown. This figure is 37% higher than the weekly average of the 87,290 domestic violence cases reported to police during 2019.

The national Gender-Based Violence Command Centre attested to the increase in numbers, saying they were experiencing triple the usual number of calls. This is a worrying trend that has been identified and reported globally, in China, Tunisia, Northern Ireland and France.

As a woman, looking at these figures and contextualising them according to our lockdown, it is difficult to share the minister's hopeful sentiments knowing the increased likelihood of GBV during this time.

Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng, a commissioner at the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE), said "a lot of the drivers and structural issues that lead to violence unfortunately are heightened in this...

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