EDITORIAL | At last! The three new GBV laws could make a real difference
Two years after Uyinene Mrwetyana’s murder, SA seems to be making huge strides in the battle against the scourge
Two-and-a-half years ago University of Cape Town student Uyinene Mrwetyana made a trip to a Post Office to collect a parcel containing clothes she had bought online. It was the last day she was seen alive. Her day transformed from doing an ordinary chore to getting raped, throttled, locked up in a safe and thrashed with a 2kg weight. It was a tipping point for South Africans campaigning against gender-based violence. Her death sparked the “Am I Next?” protests and a fresh wave of activism gender-based violence.
A week ago, as a direct result of this campaign, President Cyril Ramaphosa signed into effect three new laws to help fight the scourge of violence against women and children. It is an act that should be applauded, and activists hope it will make a real difference.
The three new gender-based violence laws deal with many aspects, including recognising sexual intimation as an official offence and extending the national register for sex offenders to include all perpetrators, and not only those who acted against children and people with disabilities. These names will be made public. The new laws also encourage that victims or relatives be heard first before bail and parole are granted. They extend the definition of domestic violence to include unmarried couples and offer the option of applying electronically for a protection order. Another key change is the law requiring police officials to check in on those seeking protection orders...