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Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola Keynote Address For Thutuzela Care Centre Launch, 31 August 2022

National Director of Public Prosecutions: Adv Shamila Bathoi
Regional Head of the Department of Justice and and Constitutional Development: Mr Rodney Isaacs
Member of the Executive Committee for Health in Western Cape Province: Ms Nomafrench Mbambo
South African Police Services Regional FCS: Brigadier Sonja Harri
SPAR Group Executive:  Kevin O’Brien
Rape Crisis Cape Town Operations Manager: Ms Nzama Hendricks
Ward Councilors Present here 
Distinguished Guests


Today is the final day of the Women’s month, but the launch of this Thuthuzela care centre signal the continuation of work against sexual offenses. Every day the NPA secures a conviction on sexual offenses and gender-based violence throughout the courts of our country. This calls on all of us to fight GBV everyday of our lives. It is a cause we must win as a nation.

The Thuthuzela care centers helps us ensure that everyone committing sexual offense gets arrested, and a conviction is secured and this is the biggest deterrent to crime that everyone knows that if they commit a crime the chances of them being arrested and convicted are very high.

I am pleased that we gather here today as a fully-fledged community.

Amongst us today are various role players in our communities.   We have in our midst the owner of the local Spar, we have with us civil society organisations, ward councilors, law enforcement agencies and of course the media.

This pleases me because if we relegate Gender Based Violence pandemic exclusively to government on its own, we will not succeed. 

But if we have everyone in the community raises their hands to uproot this pandemic, then we all take a definitive step forward.

The socialization of our children, and in particular the socialization of boy children, to respect each other to be healthy and active citizens, to take on roles in a non-gender stereotyped manner, is the foundation of addressing social ills and ensuring the mind-set change necessary for social transformation, gender equality, non-racism and social cohesion.

As the old adage goes for evil to succeed it takes good people to do nothing.

The extract that Adv Shamila Bathoi read from the judgment of S v Ntuli speaks exactly to this adage.  The fight against Gender Based Violence requires all of us.

One of the questions we are indirectly answering today is this:

When all else fails in our communities, how responsive and effective is the criminal justice system.

How do Thutuzela Care Centres Work?

As government this is something we have direct control of and it cannot be a hypothetical question, it is a question to which our communities should testify to.  

It is also a question to which our system and data should be able to correspond to.

Thutuzela Care Centre are a gate way to the justice system.  This gateway is exclusively for sexual offences survivors. 

It is an infrastructural response to access to justice challenges faced by  sexual offence survivors.

Through the Thutuzela Care Centre approach government has done away with silo approach which often hampers the provision of government services.

TCCs model are the most practical implementation of an integrated criminal justice system:

As our NDPP has already mentioned the model fosters cooperation of all relevant stakeholders such as the Department of Health (where TCC sites are located for forensic examination purposes);

the NPA (for site and case management); the Department of Justice (DOJ)(for specialized courts);

South African Police Service (SAPS)(for specialized investigations through the FCS units country wide);

the Department of Social Development (DSD)(psycho-social support and counseling);

National Treasury (essential funding)

and NGOs (for assistance with psycho-social support and counseling); and other relevant stakeholders.

What is the impact of Thutuzela Care Centres:

The impact of Thutuzela Care Centres can be traced over a period of 12 years.

The TCC-model, regarded as an international best practice model in dealing with sexual offence matters holistically. The model in its objectives focus on minimizing secondary victimization of the victims once entering the system. This is achieved through quality trauma containment assistance to victims, forensic medical examinations, the reduction of case cycle periods in the finalization of the cases and to improve the convictions of these cases.

Over the past 12 years in TCC reported and prosecuted matters the conviction rate for sexual offences was increased from 60% in 2010 to 76% in 2022.

If we look at the impact of TCCs just in the last financial year, we get the following picture:

The number of matters reported at the TCCs during the  financial year 2021 /22  increased by  sixteen point four percent (16,4 percent) from the previous financial year (2020/21).

The total number of thirty for thousand four hundred fifty six (34 456) matters reported, is an increase of four thousand eight hundred and sixty two (4862 ) matters, from the previous Financial Year. 

Of the  reported matters that were prosecuted, an average conviction rate of 76.7% for this Financial Year were achieved.

The  conviction rate for the financial year of 2021 reflects 1033 convictions from the 1346 verdict cases finalized.

In 2021 the number of matters finalised with a verdict increased from 993 in 2020 to 1346, this an improvement of 35.5%.

In the past 5 years, the current TCC sites delivered services to one hundred and sixty eight thousand and forty nine (168 049) victims at the sites, eighty eight percent 88% of these were exclusively matters on sexual offences.

What type of sentences are imposed by courts on TCC cases

Sentences imposed by the courts for TCC verdict cases during the 2021/22 FY, the following :

  1. Life imprisonment sentences: 201 (an increase of 60 (42.5%) versus the previous FY)
  2. 20-25 years imprisonment sentences: 106 (an increase of 21 (24.7%) versus the previous FY)
  3. 10-19 years imprisonment sentences: 378 (an increase of 83 (28.1%) versus the previous FY)
  4. Furthermore, it confirms that the courts are generally imposing more severe sentences specifically on rape offences regarding TCC verdict cases, in comparison with the FYs prior to the National Strategic Plan on GBVF (2018).
  5. In addition, it reflects that the courts specifically imposed life imprisonment sentences in 19.5% of the 1033 verdict cases. It also indicates that the courts imposed long term sentences (including life imprisonment) in 66.3% of the verdict cases.   

There is no doubt that this system works.  In that same vein we know very well that there is much room for improvement. 

The fight against GBV does not start in the police station, court room or correctional services cell.

It starts in the house where men in particular are groomed to treat women in particular like subjects.

It is refined in social settings where men gather and socialize.

It cemented by families who whisper to a survivor to never mention it beyond the family four walls that a relative violated them.

As launch this centre today we launch knowing full well that this pandemic can be defeated, not only by the criminal justice system but society at large.

I thank you.