In his Budget speech, Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan, made specific reference to creating safer communities. While we welcome the increases to the budget allocation, we await to see how the Department of Police and Justice and Constitutional Development will spend it.
With the technological revolution, we are fast becoming ‘online communities’ and we are also seeing more crimes perpetrated using advanced technology. As online spaces are also becoming unsafe (a reflection of what is happening in our society), especially for young girls and women, we need our police and the justice system to respond to these challenges. Perpetrators of gender-based violence are increasingly using technology to lure, track, monitor and stalk women and girls.
With reference to “special initiatives to accelerate growth and development in South Africa’s cities, which have immense potential for inclusive growth and are home to many millions of poor people”, we would like to see issues of service delivery addressed as on the frontline of service delivery protests are women. It is women that have to bear the brunt of not having access to water, electricity and access to healthcare services. Often these activities are unsafe.
What is government doing?
With an increase of 29.9 percent, the police will surely be able to improve services rendered, more specifically to victims of gender-based violence and also ensure that police are trained in areas of all legislation and Acts related to sexual offences, including the Domestic Violence Act and the Sexual Offences Act.
With R670 million allocated for the upgrade of information technology in making communities safer, we look forward to seeing how departments are going to utilise this budget to ensure that there is training in information technology.
All departments responsible for making communities safe, including the Ministry of Women, Children and People Living with Disabilities, need to ensure that information communication technologies are not used as a weapon/tool to perpetrate violence against women and children. Government needs to be proactive in understanding how information technology can be used to combat violence and protect the vulnerable in our societies.
Information and Media Manager