“Women and girls are not male property full stop,” said Mbalula, adding that he would try sincerely to stand with every victim of sexual offences and domestic violence that was dissatisfied with the manner in which SAPS dealt with their case.

The six-point plan, unveiled at Eldorado Park Police Station on Friday, is as follows:

  1. All victims should be treated with respect, dignity and interviewed by trained police officials in a victim sensitive manner.
  2. Victims should be assisted at the Victim Friendly Room (VFR) or an alternative room where the statement will be taken in private at the police station or other locations providing victim support services.
  3. Victims will be referred or taken for medical examination by the health care  professional to obtain medical evidence and complete a medical report.
  4. The investigation should be conducted by the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Investigation Unit (FCS) or a detective with relevant training
  5. The families and victims of sexual offences, femicide and infanticides should be referred o the victim support services that are available within the precinct for legal, medical, social and psychological help
  6. Victims should be proactively provided with feedback on the progress of their cases on a continuous basis.

Meanwhile, Mbalula’s Cabinet colleague Mduduzi Manana, the Deputy Minister of Higher Education, was released on R5000 bail after assaulting a woman in a Johannesburg club.

Mbalula said his aim was to give police clear instructions on how to behave, what to do and how to address sexual offences and domestic violence in order to enhance the quality services to the communities.

“We are duty-bound to ensure that all South Africans feel safe at home, school, work or in their communities,” said Mbalula

He said that they (SAPS) must reduce the gap between reported and unreported incidents of sexual offence and domestic violence “Let us reduce barriers to report these crimes.” he said

“We are putting our people first, we are confirming their dignity and human rights.” he added.

Major General Tebello Mosikili, head of the Family  Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Investigation Unit, said the police wanted to ensure that victims receive services that will not expose them to the secondary victimisation: “We have victim-friendly facilities at the police stations, and we are currently standing at 1,047 of such centres,” said Mosikili.

This article was produced through a journalist fellowship for the Heinrich Boell Foundation and the National Shelter Movement of South Africa’s “Enhancing the State’s Response to GBV: Paying the True Costs”, project which is funded by the European Union.