Gauteng police have opened 1,426 cases linked to gender-based violence (GBV) and domestic abuse since level 5 lockdown was implemented.
The majority of cases were reported in the Johannesburg police area, followed by Tshwane, Sedibeng, the West Rand and Ekurhuleni.
Johannesburg police stations registered 295 cases of GBV and domestic violence, Tshwane 365, and Sedibeng 326, while 70 cases were opened at stations on the East Rand.
Gauteng Community Safety acting head of department Sipho Thandekwayo, who addressed the provincial legislature on Thursday, revealed the number of cases reported had declined during level 4 of the lockdown.
“We think that since alcohol, which is a big driver in GBV and domestic violence cases, was restricted during lockdown, [this] had a huge impact on the numbers going down. Since the inception of level 4, the numbers are going down and there have been fewer and fewer cases reported,” he said.
Thandekwayo added GBV supporting and reporting were not restricted to the police and psychosocial support because those were essential services.
“During level 5 lockdown, we sent officials to all police stations to obtain cases reported and to observe whether the situation was getting better or worse. We have also recorded that magistrate’s courts are not functioning optimally forcing matters to be postponed.
“Some victim empowerment centres are not functioning optimally. We suspect that could also have an impact on the numbers we are getting.”
He said there was a possibility cases of crimes against women and children were not being prioritised by police officers due competing demands at police stations.
“We are unable to properly co-ordinate GBV cases which have been withdrawn because our officials are unable to travel to various courts. We have ring-fenced all GBV cases reported during level 5 and are giving them special attention. We want to see how they will progress in courts up to the conviction stage.
“We don’t want to see any of the cases falling [through] the cracks or withdrawn and victims not returning to courts. We want all GBV victims to receive the necessary support and that no victim is neglected,” Thadenkwayo added.
Thandekwayo said all 23 shelters in the province were still admitting GBV victims and their children.
“What we have noticed is that there have not been an increase in the number of people admitted in centres. Social workers will continue to provide information and brief victims. Shelter school support programmes will continue being provided to children in centres.”