Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni
Premium Journalist
2 minute read
18 May 2017
5:45 am

Communities asked to help cops combat femicide

Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni

Acting national police commissioner says murders in which the perpetrators are known to the victims are on the increase.

Former acting national police commissioner Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane. Photo: ANA

Acting national police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane is shocked by the recent spate of brutal murders and rapes of women around the country.

But he said it was not only the police who had the responsibility to fight the scourge, communities had to do something.

At least 10 women have been raped, or murdered and dumped, in the past week. Five of the women who were killed were found in Gauteng.

A number of the bodies had been burnt.

The gruesome development comes after the shock of a pregnant woman who was allegedly gang-raped by 11 men this week in the Johannesburg CBD, and after the murder of Karabo Mokoena, allegedly by her boyfriend, earlier this month.

“[This] developing trend and those types of crimes deserve to be condemned strongly by all of us including [by] communities,” said Phahlane.

“We cannot allow a situation where women … are being viewed as objects and slaughtered [as if] they don’t deserve to live a normal life.”

In Soweto alone, four women were found raped and murdered, with their bodies dumped and some burnt, at the weekend.

The bodies of Popi Qwabe, 24, Bongeka Phungula, 28, Lerato Moloi, 27, and another unidentified woman were found in open fields around the township between Friday and Sunday.

Phahlane said the police were concerned about murders in which the perpetrator was seemingly known to the victim, a class of crime that is on the increase.

Gauteng police commissioner Major-General Deliwe de Lange said on Tuesday that a task team of 16 officers had been deployed to investigate and combat violent crimes against women.

Both South African Police Service and the Johannesburg Metro Police Department have indicated they would increase police visibility, particularly in Johannesburg.

In the meantime, Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba’s spokesperson, Tony Taverna-Turison, said it was important to note that the metro police department was limited in its powers when it came to criminal investigations and prosecutions.

Noting the high rate of serious crime, he said the city was in the process of appointing an additional 1 500 JMPD officers.

“This, we believe will help turn the tide on crime, ensuring that we have proper visible policing.”

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