Civil society wants tougher bail conditions for GBV cases, Newsline

Civil society organisations have called for the tightening of bail conditions for people accused of gender-based violence and the pumping of more money to the police and judicial officers to fight the scourge.

The organisations were on Friday making oral submissions to the justice committee on three GBV Bills following a huge public outcry over the spate of killing of women and children.

Justice Minister Ronald Lamola tabled the three bills in the national legislature recently and MPs were now processing it.

Justice committee chairperson Bulelani Magwanishe said on Friday they would consider submissions made by every organisation.

The Teddy Bear Foundation and the Wise4Afrika called for more vigilance and tougher bail conditions for those accused of gender-based violence.

Brenda Madumise of Wise4Afrika said the police and other law enforcement agencies need more funds to fight the scourge.

However, she said prosecutors must oppose bail at all costs against the alleged perpetrators.

“What we are requesting is that each and every case of domestic violence, gender-based violence and sexual violence prosecutors must fight and oppose bail,” said Madumise.

Her colleague Onica Makwakwa also said the issue of bail was a serious concern and the state must oppose it.

Some of the victims of GBV felt unsafe after a suspect has been released on bail.

Shaheda Omar of the Teddy Bear Foundation said the issue of child abuse must not be lost when dealing with domestic violence cases.

She said these were interlinked most of the time.

Omar also called for the training of police officers and prosecutors in GBV matters so that they will be able to handle these cases.

This specialised training would strengthen the fight against GBV.

MPs also said the submissions made by the various organisations would be considered by the justice committee before a decision on these laws.

The justice committee has indicated it wants to conclude the processing of these Bills by the end of the year.

The government has been pushing for changes to the law after a number of women and children were killed.

Statistics from the police showed that in the last financial year more than 2 000 women were killed.

The public has also been up in arms of the increase in GBV calling for the government to act.

Political Bureau