Minister Masutha launches a court in Atlantis for victims of sexual violence
03 December 2015
In his quest of promoting a justice system that is victim-friendly and efficient, the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Advocate Michael Masutha, MP, officially launched a Sexual Offences Court and a Thuthuzela Care Centre in Atlantis, Western Cape province on Thursday, 03 December 2015.
Sexual Offences Courts and Thuthuzela Care Centres provide specialised victim-friendly services that are intended to reduce secondary trauma of victims and turnaround times in the finalisation of sexual offences matters.
Minister Masutha was accompanied by the National Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Shaun Abrahams, Western Cape Judge President, John Hlope, and American Ambassador to South Africa and representatives from the Justice and Crime Prevention and Security Cluster.
Addressing approximately 1000 community members who attended the event, Minister Masutha said that the department wants to ensure that every member of the society, particularly women and children, should be able to feel safe at home, school, work and that they enjoy community life free of fear.
He added that one of government’s priorities is to ensure that all criminal offenders are arrested, prosecuted, convicted and sentenced appropriately in order to bring back community trust in the criminal justice system.
A total of 43 sexual offences courts have been established since they were re-introduced in 2013 and there are 55 Thuthuzela Care Centres providing dedicated services to victims of sexual violence.
According to Minister Masutha the conviction rate relating to sexual offences has also increased and in the first quarter of 2015/16, the NPA has indicated a 71, 1% conviction rate. He attributed this good to multi-disciplinary approach followed by newly established provincial structures with stakeholders from the Legal Aid South Africa, South African Police Service and Department of Health.
Minister Masutha also called all stakeholders in the communities to partner with government in building a safe and just society. “We urge community members to unite and help government put a stop to sexual offences against women and children. Seek help if you are emotionally, physically or sexually abusive to your partner and/or your children. Call the Stop Gender Based Violence helpline (0800 150 150). Talk to friends, relatives and colleagues to take a stand against abuse of women and children”, he emphasized.
“Only through partnerships can we hope to address crime and ensure our people are and feel safe,” Minister concluded.
Issued by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development
Enquiries: Advocate Mthunzi Mhaga
Spokesperson for the for the Ministry of Justice and Correctional services
083 641 8141 / Mediaenquiries@justice.gov.za