Gauteng out of touch with no strategy on LGBTI-related crimes

Patricia Mokgohlwa MPL

Spokesperson on Women

With no specific strategy, a lack of targeted training and awareness programmes and a limited R3.3 million budget for general programmes the provincial government and police in Gauteng are out-of-touch with crimes against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LBGTI) community.

Community Safety MEC Faith Mazibuko’s reply to my written question highlights the second class citizen treatment received by LGBTI people despite guarantees of equality in the Bill of Rights.

Amid the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign the MEC’s reply also indicates that only 1 168 of the 32 093 operational SAPS members in Gauteng received training in gender-based violence and sexual offences programmes between April and October this year. Gauteng police recently confirmed the existence of a suspected serial killer in the province targeting gay men and incidents of so-called “corrective rape” of lesbian women in townships continue to increase.

Despite this the Community Safety Department does not have specific programmes to deal with crimes against the LGBTI community and instead lumps such crimes in its Violence Against Women and Children strategy.

The Gauteng police also have no specific training programmes for such crimes and instead receive training in broad “gender sensitivity programmes” with very limited reach as indicated below:

Training Programme Members trained Victim Empowerment Programme 725 Policing Sexual Gender-based violence 164 Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Course 55 Introduction to psychologically motivated crimes 22 Sexual Offences Course 200 Harmful Occult Related Course 2

The limited reach and general nature of this training adds insult to injury when police do not know how to treat men and women reporting sex and hate crimes with the necessary understanding and compassion.

Gauteng must do more than just “discourage the brutality on Lesbians and conscientizing communities to treat all people with the dignity they deserve”.

The MEC and provincial police must take a tough stance on LGBTI-related crimes and ensure that a comprehensive strategy is developed and implemented to ensure such crimes are prevented and dealt with effectively when they occur.

The DA believes that the safety concerns of LGBTI people in Gauteng must be addressed effectively to ensure that no individual feels threatened or excluded in our province.

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