Women, not only in Gauteng but also the rest of South Africa should arm themselves as government continually fails in protecting them.
In Gauteng alone, more than 20 000 schedule 8 offenders were released since 2016 without DNA samples being submitted. This means that the very same murderers and rapists that destroyed the lives of so many people can roam our streets again without a trace.
The South African government is complicit in gender-based violence and this again goes to show that their incompetence and lack of political will, causes further destruction to the lives of thousands of women and children in the country.
“How do you knowingly release perpetrators of such serious offences without DNA samples to link them to previous or future crimes? It seems like the South African government is deliberately trying to endanger citizens, they must be held accountable for their actions,” says Ian Cameron, spokesperson for Action Society.
Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola confirmed that 96 875 schedule 8 offenders -including murderers and rapists – have been released on parole since 2016 without submitting a DNA sample for the population of the National Forensics DNA Database (NFDD). Gauteng has the highest number of these offenders who are out on parole.
“Bear in mind that 146 people, mainly women, become victims of sexual offences every single day in South Africa and approximately 116 rapes are reported daily. In Gauteng there are almost 11 000 sexual offences cases reported annually,” said Cameron.
He added that sexual offences are generally underreported, due to the fear of further victimisation and the lack of trust in the South African justice system. Sadly, a lot of these offences are often committed by perpetrators who are known to their victims.
Action Society’s call for women to legally arm themselves comes in conjunction with the demand to government for the urgent implementation of the Forensics Procedures Amendment Act.
The Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Act 37 of 2013 (Forensic Procedures Act), forces convicted Schedule 8 offenders (this includes murderers and rapists) to submit a buccal DNA sample for the population of the National Forensic DNA Database of South Africa (NFDD). Since the creation of the NFDD in 2015 however, this Amendment Act has still not been finalised and is still awaiting the president’s signature.
“We reiterate our stance that the Firearms Control Amendment Bill which seeks to remove self-defence as a reason to own a gun, is ridiculous and an attack on our constitutional rights Action Society believes that this proposed legislation is flawed and needs to be done away with. This law will not make South Africa safer; it will in fact have to opposite effect.
How are we expected to feel safe if government keeps releasing Schedule 8 criminals and also prohibit us from owning a firearm for self-defence ?” Cameron asks.
Cameron concludes: “Women in South Africa must realise that the South African Police Services and the government is not going to protect them. It is time for women to stand up against crime and specifically GBV – not only by joining organisations like Action Society who are actively pressuring government on policy change and implementation – but also by ensuring they can defend themselves against violent criminals.”