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The Democratic Alliance Women’s Network (DAWN) in Limpopo is deeply concerned by the high number of sexual offences and domestic violence related offences registered as the commemoration of 16 days of activism for no violence against women and children begins.
It is ironic that the theme for 2021 is “The Year of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke – 16 Days of Activism – moving from awareness to accountability”, because the Limpopo provincial government has still not taken up enough responsibility in addressing the scourge of violence against women in the province.
The province is currently losing the battle on violence against children and women and the 2021/22 South African Police Service (SAPS) 2nd quarter crime statistics for Limpopo paint a bleak picture.
Limpopo recorded a total of 1 004 sexual offences with rape, sexual assault and attempted sexual offences increasing from the 2020/21 2nd quarter stats. There were 834 rape cases (4.5% increase), 108 sexual assault cases (33.3% increase), 54 attempted sexual offences (31.7% increase) and 8 cases of contact sexual offences.
The statistics also show that domestic violence continues to be a serious societal issue. The province recorded 5 attempted murder cases, 8 murder cases, 18 rape cases, 6 sexual assault cases, 232 assault GBH cases and 354 common assault cases as domestic violence related crimes.
Limpopo had three police stations namely Thohoyandou, Mankweng and Seshego ranked in the top 30 stations nationwide for sexual offences, with Thohoyandou ranked 3rd, Mankweng ranked 9th and Seshego ranked 11th.
The province also has the same three stations in the country’s top 30 stations for rape offences. Thohoyandou is ranked 2nd (69 cases), Seshego ranked 10th (44 cases) and Mankweng 13th (42 cases).
It is unacceptable that these three police stations are a recurring feature on the country’s top 30 sexual offences and rape lists quarter after quarter. This highlights a lack of support and resources at these stations to improve their response against perpetrators of sexual offences.
Despite this serious issue, the province still has Victim Empowerment Centres that are mismanaged, under-resourced and underfunded. These centres are meant to play a central role in the prevention of domestic violence, the provision of victim empowerment programmes, counselling services and provision of shelter for victims of abuse.
The sustained large numbers of sexual offences prove that the SAPS and Limpopo provincial government are still not doing enough to keep women safe in their communities. There is a need for a concerted effort and greater resources to address the high numbers of sexual offences and domestic violence.
We are committed to ensure that the provincial government addresses the current culture of abuse towards women, and more importantly address toxic masculinity and other behaviours that negatively impact women in our society.
Issued by DAWN Limpopo Chairperson Desiree van der Walt