Police Minister Bheki Cele has been left encouraged by the robust and honest discussions that took place at two community engagements led by the ministry and South African Police Service (SAPS) in the Western Cape and Limpopo provinces.
MINISTER BHEKI CELE ENGAGES MEN ABOUT GBV
Men came out in their numbers and participated in the _Imbizo YaMadoda (Men’s Imbizo) on Monday, 26 September 2022 in Khayelitsha, Cape Town.
Described as a long overdue and crucial conversation between men about their role in the prevention and eradication of Gender-based violence (GBV) the _Imbizo YaMadoda_ has been hailed by communities and stakeholders as a progressive step towards addressing underlying causes and drivers of violence against women and police interventions.
A first-of-its-kind community engagement of men, the _Imbizo YaMadoda_ saw the participation of men who reside in areas around Khayelitsha with high GBV and femicide, domestic abuse and sexual offences cases.
WORRYING CRIME STATS IN THE WESTERN CAPE
According to the last released National crime statistics, the Western Cape Province recorded 1611 sexual offences between April and June 2022.
1 115 people, mostly women were raped during the same period in the province.
Alcohol and drug abuse, broken family units including absent fathers, high rates of unemployment and overall issues of inequality in communities have been raised as causes of violence against women by many male community members.
Addressing the Imbizo, Minister Cele didn’t mince his words, saying while police have a role to play in improving and providing victim centred-services to all victims of GBV, men too must change their mindset in how they view women.
“It is a fact, men commit the most violent crimes against women, for some reason, men think they own women and this false sense of ownership often leads to men treating women with disrespect and violence. It’s quite simple, women are fully fledged human beings and are not our pets.”Cele
Minister Cele told the meeting, the second pandemic of GBV can be beaten, if everyone in society, including other government departments, play their part.
NATIONAL PLEDGE TO END GBV SIGNED BY MEN
All men present followed in the Minister’s footsteps in signing the National pledge to end GBV.
“Such GBV engagements with men, should be a common occurrence driven by community leaders, church and traditional leaders and other role models in society, these discussions must take place in stokvels, places of entertainment, at police stations, schools, churches until this message is normalised and men seek and find help. Talking about GBV to men and with men must be a lifestyle and be a normal practice for men to address the issues they may have and be agents of change.” Cele concluded.
In Limpopo, Deputy Minister of Police, Cassel Mathale engaged learners from different schools around Ga-Maja and Ga-Chuene in Lebowakgomo.
School safety, drugs and alcohol abuse were unpacked in the Ministerial Imbizo that took place with scores of high school pupils. Some in attendance complained that drugs were easily available to them and some local police didn’t act on known drug dealers.
The Deputy Minister assured the scholars that strong action against police members who take bribes and work with drug dealers would be taken. He urged pupils and parents to report police wrongdoing.
“We cannot allow this blue uniform to be disrespected by the members of the community because of officers who do choose to be criminals, we are the South African Police Service and we are here to serve you as the community and we believe that working together with you and the community as a whole we will win against crime.”Mathale
Police Ministry SpokespersonLirandzu Themba said that both Izimbizo hosted by the Ministry in Cape Town and Limpopo, form part of the SAPS’ ongoing efforts to prevent and combat crimes that threaten the safety and security of community members.
“The Ministry continues to encourage communities to work with the police in the fight against crime and come forward with information that may assist police investigations,” she urged.