NEWLY APPOINTED MEC PRIORITISES FEMICIDE

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  • The Free State Department of Social Development, which is led by newly appointed MEC Ms Mathabo Leeto, is urgently addressing the surge in Gender-Based Violence and Femicide, following a distressing rise in brutal killings of women in the province.
  • The recent murder of Mpho Moalosi highlights the crisis, with MEC Leeto calling on community cooperation to aid police investigations and offering condolences to the victim’s family.
  • The Department is also promoting awareness of the amended Domestic Violence Act, which now includes broader definitions of abuse and allows for electronic applications for protection orders, aiming to provide more accessible support to victims.

In light of the alarming increase in brutal killings of women in the Free State, the Department of Social Development, under the newly appointed MEC Ms Mathabo Leeto, is issuing a stern warning against Gender-Based Violence and Femicide. This surge in violence has deeply distressed communities across the province, highlighting the urgent need for intervention and awareness.

While the Department does not intend to cause panic, it acknowledges the harsh reality of persistent Gender-Based Violence and Femicide, which continues to plague communities despite President Cyril Ramaphosa’s declaration of it as a pandemic. The recent tragic killing of Judith Mpho Moalasi serves as a grim reminder of this crisis. Moalasi’s body was discovered by Bloemspruit police on Dewetsdorp Road early Monday, bearing multiple injuries. Her death is one of the latest in a series of femicides that have shocked the province.

MEC Mathabo Leeto has expressed her deepest condolences to Mpho’s family and urged community members to assist the police with any information that could aid in the investigation. “The Department strongly condemns this heinous crime and violence against women,” Leeto stated. In response, the Department has taken immediate action by dispatching officials and a team of social workers to provide psycho-social support to Moalosi’s grieving family. This swift response underscores the Department’s dedication to addressing and combating violence against women.

In parallel, the Department is raising awareness about significant changes to the Domestic Violence Amendment Act 14 of 2021, enforced as of 14 April 2023. The amendments include additional acts of abuse such as the abuse of elderly persons, spiritual abuse, coercive and controlling behaviour, exposing the complainant to domestic violence, and unauthorised entry into a complainant’s home or place of employment. Crucially, the amendments recognise that not all forms of abuse need to be repeated, be unreasonable, or place someone in imminent harm to be reported.

Although the integrated electronic repository for domestic violence protection orders is not yet operational, a significant change now permits victims of domestic abuse to apply electronically for protection orders without having to visit the court in person. This change is a vital step in making support more accessible to victims, ensuring they can seek protection without the added burden of physical court appearances.

The Department’s actions and the promotion of these legislative changes aim to create a safer environment for women and to empower communities with the knowledge and resources to combat Gender-Based Violence and Femicide effectively.

 

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