ActionSA Calls on SAPS and the Provincial Government to Act as The Western Cape is Ranked as the Least Safe Province for Women

ActionSA will be mobilising women’s organisations for a march to the Provincial Headquarters of the South African Police Service (SAPS), as the Western Cape has been ranked as the least safe province for women in a recent study conducted by 1st for Women insurance.

This comes as little surprise following last year’s revelation by the Department of Police Oversight and Community Safety that over 70 gender-based violence cases were struck off the court roll in just six months.

As the Western Cape continues to grapple with an alarming prevalence of Gender-Based Violence and Femicide, we are concerned by reports indicating that GBV desks at police stations are not operational. One such instance is in Ocean View, where community activists have brought to our attention issues regarding resources and staffing.

The crisis in policing and the broken criminal justice system is a significant factor contributing to the unsafe environment for women in the Western Cape, as well as in all other nine provinces. When we consider the sad reality that most cases go unreported, it’s likely that thousands of women and children will never see justice or, even more disturbingly, escape the violence.

Crucially, while addressing the issues related to the criminal justice system is central, this crisis also demands a more focused and targeted approach to tackling the underlying issues fuelling it. Substance abuse is one such issue that we believe is linked with unemployment and a lack of opportunities in forgotten communities across the Western Cape and South Africa.

ActionSA is committed to a holistic intervention that begins by strengthening our criminal justice system and ensuring sufficient victim support structures and mechanisms. This effort must be coupled with an intentional community-led effort that includes the implementation of broad awareness and education programs to address gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF), with a particular focus on emphasising the responsibility of men in reducing GBVF.