Cele appeals to traditional leaders to protect GBV survivors

Police Minister Bheki Cele has made a clarion call to the country’s traditional leadership to ensure that survivors of gender-based violence are protected.

Police and the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs held a ministerial dialogue with traditional leaders, aimed at taking crime combating campaigns to rural areas. About 21 000 women were abused in 2019, of which the Police Minister says 18 000 at places where they were supposed to feel safe.

Cele has called on the country’s 882 traditional councils to work with police to ensure that survivors of GBV are protected.

Bheki Cele says: “There are instances in the traditional space where perpetrators pay families of rape cows to apologise for the crime.”

The National House of Traditional leaders has bemoaned the use of culture to protect criminality. King Sipho Mahlangu says, “Culture is protecting some of these crimes, it cannot be. We have partnered with NPA to deal with this.”

Traditional leaders have however raised concerns about rogue police.  Contralesa president Mathupa Mokoena says, “Police must be inspecting these new recruits. They are on the payroll of criminals.”

And then the system of traditional leaders and their powers came under the spotlight.

Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders Mwelo Nonkonyana says: “Restore the power of traditional leadership. We are in charge in our communities.”

The Police Minister gave an undertaking that all concerns raised will be addressed.