Sunday, May 26, 2024

Two new bills - GBV, NPA - signed into law

President Cyril Ramaphosa, on Friday, at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, signed the the National Council on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) Bill and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Amendment Bill, into law.

The bill, first introduced in 2023, paves the way for the establishment of the Investigative Directorate against Corruption.

Ramaphosa said corruption and gender-based violence are two scourges that plague South Africa and corrode the country’s social fabric.

“Corruption and gender-based violence are affronts to the human dignity that is the inalienable right of every South African. These forms of criminality are holding our country back and preventing us from realising our full potential,” President Ramaphosa said.

The two signed pieces of legislation will form part of government’s efforts to strengthen institutions, develop partnerships and build state capacity.

The National Council on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide will coordinate and provide strategic leadership to the fight against GBV and femicide, and be multi-sectoral, drawing on the expertise of all stakeholders, including civil society, labour and business.

“We enacted new laws to strengthen the response of the criminal justice system to gender-based violence. We have worked to improve the support provided to survivors of gender-based violence through the establishment of new Thuthuzela Care Centres, new Sexual Offences Courts, and victim-friendly rooms at nearly all police stations across the country.

“Through these efforts, we have seen improvements in conviction rates and in stricter sentencing. While this progress is welcome, our greatest task is to prevent Gender-Based Violence from being perpetrated in the first place…. we want to end, once and for all, the violence that men perpetrate against women,” President Ramaphosa said.

Ramaphosa emphasised the need for the national response to be more coordinated between the different stakeholders.

“We need a national effort that is more inclusive, more focused, and better resourced. We are confident that this council will provide much of what we need and will further strengthen the national effort to eradicate violence against women and children,” the President said.

On the National Prosecuting Authority Amendment Bill, Ramaphosa highlighted that great progress has been made since the establishment of the Investigating Directorate within the NPA in the last five years.

“It has been five years since we established an Investigating Directorate within the NPA to investigate cases of corruption and other serious crimes arising from the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture. These are five years in which great progress has been made.To date, the Investigating Directorate has taken 39 state capture and corruption cases to court, involving 212 accused persons and 68 accused entities. In the last five years, the NPA has also secured the conviction of almost 700 government officials for corruption,” President Ramaphosa said.

The President called on all stakeholders, including government, business, labour and across civil society to support the effort to make the two new entities a success.

 

Done By: Mitchum George

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