_: Social Development and Special Programmes in the Eastern Cape is calling for the establishment of special courts to deal with cases that relate to Gender Based Violence (GBV). Led by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the centres are one-stop facilities introduced as a critical part of the country’s anti-rape strategy, aiming to reduce secondary victimisation, improve conviction rates and reduce the cycle time for finalisation of rape cases.
There are currently five TCC’s in the province and they are located in Cecilia Makhiwane Hospital in Mdantsane, St Barnabas Hospital in Libode, DoraNginza Hospital in Port Elizabeth, Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital in Mthatha and St Patrick’s Hospital in Bhizana.
“We firmly believe that the increase in the number of TCC’s and the establishment of DNA testing centers will assist in the criminal justice system as evidence will be collected at the TCC and analysed at local DNA testing centers to further strengthen the government case against perpetrators of these violence,” she said.
MEC Majodina suggests that through the special courts government will be able to efficiently and effectively attend to cases of gender based violence. The conference was organised to create a platform for stakeholders to discuss and develop an integrated strategy to fight gender based violence.
The Department has observed that for the past three (3) years, gender based violence has increased regardless of joint efforts made to fight it. For the financial year 2009/10, government recorded 4 026 victims of crime, 8 616 in 2010/11, and 12 451 in 2011/12 financial year.
“These numbers are a worrying factor for government, particularly for us (Department), as we have a responsibility of rendering services to the victims,” said MEC Majodina. Speaking on behalf of the Eastern Cape Legislature’s Women’s Caucus, MPL Neo Moerane highlighted that there are new trends of gender based violence in the province. The abuse of gays and lesbians as well as people with disabilities, muti and witchcraft related killings, according to MPL Moerane, are also some of the new trends of gender based violence in the province.
She noted that the province is under the spotlight of the United Nations as a result of forced marriages to young girls by older men, a practise that is rife in the areas of Lusikisiki and Flagstaff in the OR Tambo District Municipality. During the two day conference, the Department also launched a White Door Centre of Hope located in Duncan Village’s Police Station. A white door centre of hope is a localised victim reception centre that is located as close to the community as possible.
It functions as a short term safe space that victims can access if they need to wait for professional services, including the police. The department intends to rollout the programme to ensure accessibility of the services to victims of gender based violence across the province. Over 40 sites across the Province have since been identified.
Delegates at the conference committed to participate in a multi-sectoral working group that together with the Executive Council of the province, will work towards the establishment of a multi-sectoral gender based violence council with a view to mobilise resources for issues relating to gender based violence.