Tshwane Metro police department head Lieutenant-General Johanna Nkomo and MEC for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko recently launched the gender-based violence brigades programme in Mabopane. The launch took place after the team led an early morning, Okae Molao anti-crime programme, focusing on the tracing of suspects wanted for gender-based violence, contact crimes, property-related crimes and other priority crimes.
The two officials were welcomed by local women selected to fight the violence scourge in the surrounding communities, working together with law enforcement and the department. Of the 550 brigades in the province, 107 will be in Tshwane. Addressing the women who were wearing bibs, supplied by the Department of Community Safety, Mazibuko said: “You are the ones who will be searching for these men abusing women and removing them under the rock they’re hiding.
“Your job is to go door to door; you will not be sitting at home waiting for a phone call. You are going to eliminate this issue of women saying ‘I went to the police and the police were not kind to me’. I expect you to have relationships with the police and the community patrolling forums.” She said.
Provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Elias Mawela, who was also at the event, said based on police data, most incidents happened behind closed doors.“When you hear a woman screaming from her home, don’t fold your arms and keep quiet because it is not the furniture that beats up that woman, added Nkomo”.
Mawela said it was for this reason that the incidents were difficult for police to deal with as the victims and the perpetrators were people who knew each other well.“You are going to be our eyes and to make sure we intervene before the women going through violence and abuse are saved before they are killed or badly injured. However, you are also going to educate the community because education is key. We need you to let the women know that if he beats you once, he’ll beat you again, and someday he could kill you,” he said.