Police Minister, General Bheki Cele, has called on officers to prioritise the safety of women, children and GBV cases this festive season. This call comes as Minister Cele on Monday, 13 December 2021, visited Thohoyandou in Limpopo.

This policing area has recorded the second-highest number of rape cases in the country during July and September this year.

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The visit to the Limpopo province forms part of the annual Safer Festive Season Inspection Tour. It saw both Minister Cele and his deputy, Cassel Mathale, as well as the National Commissioner of the South African Police Service, General Khehla Sitole. They ushered in a season characterised by festivities, entertainment, travelling and shopping.

Visiting the Vhembe District, Cele and the police management interacted with motorists at the multi-agency roadblocks set up to intercept crime on the roads and also engaged shoppers and holidaymakers at the local malls in Thohoyandou.

Police officers urged to prioritise GBV cases this festive season
Police in Thohoyandou

Cele says while the high rape statistics are shocking, police in Thohoyandou and around the country must at all times prioritise assisting survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) in their time of need and ensure that perpetrators of these heinous crimes are arrested swiftly.

“I know there are many officers who go beyond the call of duty every day to help GBV victims. However, it is deeply disturbing that some chose to disgrace the service and subject victims to substandard treatment at police stations and in some instances even turn people away. Yes, many of the rapes are happening in places where police cannot reach, such as private homes. But when victims open up cases and turn to you for help. You as law enforcers must assist them with outmost compassion and professionalism, no matter what. We expect this kind of service in all our police stations and those officers who fail to meet this instruction, must be reported and shown the door.”

GBV CASES A PRIORITY FOR BHEKI CELE THIS FESTIVE SEASON 

Cele says empowering officers to improve their services to victims and survivors of GBV is also important. However, some of these crimes can be prevented through police visibility in areas of leisure, since the National Crime Statistics indicates sexual assaults and attacks most likely occur in the vicinity where alcohol is consumed.

The Police Ministry is encouraged by the installation of dedicated GBV desks staffed by officers specifically trained to deal with these complaints and cases. GBV desks are already active at some of the identified Top 30 GBV hot spots across the country. The goal is to have one GBV desk at each police station.

Meanwhile, the first day also saw the police top brass visit the Malamulele police station. Which was attacked and robbed by 10 armed suspects last month.
The gang made off with high calibre weapons and shotguns as well as ammunition.

Minister Cele says it’s unacceptable that those responsible are still at large.

“I’m calling on the police to step up their investigations into this robbery and find the stolen weapons. Before they are used to commit more crime. I have instructed the National and Provincial Commissioners to provide me with daily reports on the progress of the investigation. No one can afford to drag their feet in this case. Police must move with speed and make arrests soon,” concluded Cele.

The second instalment of the Safer Festive Season Inspection Tour will take place in Mpumalanga on Tuesday 15 December 2021

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