In a solution seeking mission against what is deemed the country’s second pandemic, the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola, converged a women panel discussion dialogue session attended by women from both departments of Correctional Services and Justice and Constitutional Development. The session took place in the KwaZulu-Natal region at the Amazimtonti Protea Karedene Hotel just outside Durban on 30 August 2021 to mark the end of women’s month. Minister Lamola said the two departments must continue to have integrated programmes. Women officials from both departments joined those who were afforded physical participation through virtual connection to form part of robust discussions aimed at fighting and addressing all gender based violence crimes affecting women. Current statistics on gender violence shows scary numbers and continuous growth on the brutality levelled against women in society.
Women panellists from the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), South African Police Service (SAPS), Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DOJ) , Department of Social Development and DCS, were given a chance to address and engage women officials under the topic, ‘’The efficacy of the criminal justice system on the country’s second pandemic: Gender Based Violence and Femicide.’’ Facilitating the dialogue was a vocal activist, Dr Criselda Kananda.
Giving a keynote address, Minister Lamola emphasised the need for justice to prevail for a number of women who lost their lives due to gender based violence. ‘’It is very sad that every year, during the month of August where we commemorate and celebrate women, we go through devastating incidents against women. The killing of women and the fact that the most gruesome of them occur even in women’s month makes one wonder if we have internalised the status of women in society,’’ said Minister Lamola. He also added that a collective strategy needs to be implemented to curb the pandemic. Minister Lamola called on all institutions including government departments, civil society, professionals and the broader community to act with speed on addressing and protecting women.
On women empowerment, he said: “We have demonstrated through appointments at higher echelons of both departments of Justice and Constitutional Development and Correctional Services, that we are committed to realize the mandate of the ruling party of seeing more women assuming leadership positions.He thanked all women in both departments for their continued commitment towards creating better lives for citizens adding that without their efforts and dedication, South Africans would have been poorer.
Doctor Zodwa Mosoma represented DCS during the dialogue and briefly outlined the role played by the Department in ensuring a safe living environment and the effectiveness of the rehabilitation system towards the perpetrators. “As the Department, we are supporting the government strategy in eradicating gender based violence by implementing a policy framework which focuses in rehabilitating correctly those who find themselves on the wrong and contribute to the scourge of gender based crimes. Those who are under our care go through different programmes where we follow scientific and systematic approaches, to ensure behavioural changes,’’ alluded Dr Mosoma
Acting Area Commissioner, Glencoe Management Area, Ms Nthabiseng Mabizela also shared her sentiments on how the session assisted management to extend the relevant support to all women officials. “Information on available interventions from all these different government departments will help us a lot. You will find that in our Department, there will be officials who will come to us having challenges or problems that are relating to gender based violence, now, one will be able to refer them to relevant offices who will assist them efficiently to address their challenges, ’’’said acting Area Commissioner Mabizela.