Mount Ayliff communities learn about victims’ rights

Minister RadebeThe Eastern Cape Regional Office, Mount Ayliff Magistrate’s Court, and the Justice Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster departments, observed Crime Victims’ Rights Week recently. This information session was aimed at educating victims of crime, school learners and the community about their rights.

More than 380 community members, including learners and victims of crime attended the event where all stakeholders made presentations on the services offered to victims of crime. Stakeholders included the South African Police Services (SAPS), National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Departments of Correctional Services, Social Development, South African Social Security Agency, Alfred Nzo District and Mzimvubu Municipalities, traditional leaders, teachers and learners from the surrounding schools.

All the seven (7) rights of victims of crime, as stated in the Service Charter for the Victims of Crime, were explained to the community members. The community was also encouraged to exercise their rights and seek assistance from Chapter Nine Institutions if their rights are violated or are not receiving satisfactory services from government.

To illustrate their understanding, learners from Santombe Senior Primary and Mount Ayliff High Schools rendered a poem and a play on how drug abuse can lead to criminal activities that can affect innocent people.  The drama was also meant to encourage community members to have faith in the criminal justice system, exercise their rights so that offenders can be prosecuted.

Community leader, Councillor Nomathamsanqa Mlenzana applauded efforts made by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development and for inviting other stakeholders to educate the community about the services offered in assisting victims of crime.  “Community outreach can have a greater impact when all departments work together in capacitating our community about their rights,” said Ms Mlenzana. She further indicated that awareness campaigns are crucial due to high rate of sexual offence cases against elderly women and children.   

By Bandile Ngomti

18 September 2013