GBV clearly not a priority crime for Bheki Cele, says activist Lucinda Evans, Newsline

Cape Town – Police Minister Bheki Cele has vowed that ”GBV remains a priority crime for the SAPS’’ – but Cape Flats activist Lucinda Evans doesn’t believe this is the case.

Evans did, unfortunately, believe Cele when he stated yesterday that while the ”country will certainly combat the coronavirus pandemic, sadly, the same cannot be said for the second pandemic (GBV) that is at crisis levels in this country”.

”It’s clearly not his priority. How many cases have there been? How many women and children have been killed and how many times does he go to families and sympathise. He has done nothing,” Evans said on Wednesday.

In highlighting the 30 GBV hot spots in the country (eight of which are in Cape Town), Cele said ”gender-based violence is a societal evil that MUST be contained at all costs”.

“All police stations in those identified areas are expected to have a permanent desk dedicated to GBV.”

According to Evans, who has fought up to parliamentary level for this issue, this was supposed to have happened by September 20 but hasn’t.

Cele added: ”We are also forging ahead with our plans of ensuring that victim-friendly rooms meet all requirements and are available at all police stations.”

Evans said: “I took all 150 police stations in the province to task through the ombudsman on the issue of the victim support group and they did a submission to Parliament two weeks ago.

‘’And one of the recommendations that we made is that the police officers should be retrained in terms of gender-based violence and also that the victim support group should be adequately equipped with volunteers.

“There was a commitment made from SAPS but it’s not worth the paper that it’s been written on because it was said that by the 20th of September the identified police stations were supposed to ensure that their victim support group was adequately manned.

“But I can go to any of these police stations and I will find no one there. I have no faith in Bheki Cele and he is not interested in protecting us.”

Evans told the Cape Argus in January already: “The station commanders should be charged for failing to comply with the national instruction that mandate all stations to have fully functional victim empowerment programme rooms. How do they fill in their monthly scores with compliance?

“At some police stations, when victims went for support, there was nothing. Until SAPS get their house in order, we are going to sit with situations where women are revictimised.”

Whether you are a GBV or crime hot spot depends on the competency of your station commander and, of course, the resources at your disposal.

Evans was happy with the work done by the experienced Muizenberg station commander Colonel Vassie Naidoo. However, to her dismay, in going to report a child rape case at the Muizenberg station on Monday, she discovered Naidoo had been moved.

”I don’t know what’s going on there. I don’t know why the station commander has been moved from Muizenberg. Before Naidoo came in January 2019, it had been up to s*** for five years.

’’I can’t even count how many cases I had opened against the Muizenberg SAPS for a failure to give proper services to survivors of gender-based violence.

‘’Naidoo came and he turned the station around. He did a complete 360 on child protection. “Then, on Monday, I was told that he has been removed. No consultation, no nothing.

“As a community, we are stuffed all over again because we are going to have an increase in gang violence and gender-based violence, something on which Naidoo had given the community a decent service.

’’A petition has been started for him because I want to know who is in charge now at Muizenberg and what kind of service we can expect. Naidoo’s three predecessors were useless, incompetent. These police officers were a law unto themselves.

“Why would you move a police officer who is doing his work? It doesn’t make sense at all.”