The Department of Justice is working on three amendment bills to curb gender-based violence.
“Our fight against crime, corruption and gender-based violence and femicide must be dealt with systemically,” Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola told the portfolio committee overseeing these departments on Monday.
“The fight against the scourge of gender-based violence and femicide continues to be a priority.”
He said President Cyril Ramaphosa in his State of the Nation Address in February this year announced that the department would amend the Domestic Violence Act to better protect victims in violent domestic relationships and that it would pass a law to tighten bail and sentencing conditions in cases that involve gender-based violence.
“We are therefore preparing three amendment bills proposing amendments to the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, the Domestic Violence Act, the Criminal Procedure Act and legislation regulating minimum sentencing.
“We shall continue to roll out sexual offences’ courts and Thuthuzela Care Centres to provide much-needed support services to survivors of gender-based and sexual violence, and continue our efforts in the establishment of a Femicide Watch.”
He said in line with the department’s objectives of building a human rights culture and giving effect to constitutional values, it will drive campaigns to increase constitutional awareness.
“We will focus our advocacy initiatives on changing societal attitudes in the areas of racism, xenophobia and related intolerance towards LGBTI persons,” he said.
Lamola also said maintenance and other issues related to children are of major interest to the department.
“While major improvements have been done in the processes related to maintenance applications, the department plans to improve the speed and efficiency in finalising maintenance orders.”