South Africa-Holiday-Security

S/Africa: Prioritise women, children’s safety during festive season – Minister

APA-Pretoria (South Africa)

The South African Police Service must prioritise the safety of women and children at all times, and especially during the upcoming festive season when the country usually witnesses a high crime rate nationwide, Police Minister Bheki Cele has said.

The minister made the call on Monday during the first leg of the “Safer Festive Season Inspection Tour” in Thohoyandou, Limpopo Province – an area that recorded the second highest number of rape cases in the country between July and September this year, he said.  

While the country’s high rape statistics were shocking, the police in Thohoyandou and around the country “must at all times prioritise assisting survivors of gender-based violence in their time of need,” the minister said.

He urged the police officers “to ensure that perpetrators of these heinous crimes are arrested swiftly.” 

“However, it is deeply disturbing that some choose to disgrace the service and subject victims to substandard treatment at police stations and, in some instances, even turn people away,” he said.

He noted that when victims opened cases and turned to police officers for help, “it is the officers’ legal obligation to assist the victims 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,” Cele said. 

NM/jn/APA

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