Minister Michael Masutha led an imbizo encompassing all departments and entities under his portfolio in order to bring services closer to the community of Botshabelo, Free State on Saturday, 24 November 2018.
What may appear to a stranger as a serene community, is in fact a thinly disguised troubled community ravaged by despicable crimes against women and children. Part of the purpose of the Minister’s visit was to officially launch a Sexual Offences Court, which is one of a number of interventions aimed at eradicating the scourge of crime in the area. Coincidentally, the launch of the sexual offences court happened just a day before the launch of the 16 Days of Activism for no Violence against Women and Children – a campaign that is observed annually in South Africa.
Minister Masutha cited the injustices of the past as a major contributor to the high levels of poverty, unemployment and inequality in society. He enjoined government, non-governmental organisations and communities to work together to eliminate social ills afflicting communities. He hailed the opening of a dedicated Sexual Offences Court as an important and necessary intervention to deal with the upwelling of reported sexual offences in Botshabelo.
The imbizo was also an opportunity for locals to interact with the minister and interface with various state departments including, DCS, the South African Police Service, Social Development, Justice, the National Prosecuting Authority, and the Special Investigating Unit.
Chief Operations Commissioner Mandla Mkabela said the gathering symbolised a commitment towards defeating the evil of crime in South Africa. He implored communities to work together with law enforcement agencies to fight crime. He said DCS has introduced an empirically informed rehabilitation programme for sexual offenders. The Sexual Offender Treatment Programme provides much needed interventions and is a game changer in the department’s efforts to rehabilitate sexual offenders.