#PoliceResources and how the case affects women
Article by Janie Booth
Khayelitsha has one of the highest rates of violence against women in the world. Assault, rape, and murder is a reality for many women. Women’s rights to safety, security, life, and health are violated daily.
The reason behind these problems is a lack of resources. The allocation of police human resources, especially in areas such as Khayelitsha, unfairly discriminates against black women living in informal settlements. This is because the system employed by the South African Police Service (SAPS) to determine how police officers are placed in areas is deeply flawed.
The Constitutional Court Reinforces Spatial Violence Created By South Africa’s Apartheid Past
The Constitutional Court ruling, in the Baron V Claytile matter, points to a disregard for poor people’s agency, therefore affirming the idea that choice is a luxury reserved for the wealthy. Instead of interpreting the law through pro-farmer, pro-poor, pro-human-rights lenses, the Court made the presumption that landowners may evict farm workers at their will, and that these farm workers may be legitimately relocated to unsatisfactory locations. Baron v Claytile reinforces the same dynamic created by forced eviction, where farm workers are unable to have control over their own lives, reminiscent of an apartheid reality that prevented black people from owning land in affluent, White areas.
By Seehaam Samaai, Director of the Women’s Legal Centre
The spatial organisation of the apartheid city was such that Blacks, at the periphery of the city had the least access to resources, whilst White people, at the centre of the city not only had access to the city’s resources, but also controlled them.
HOW STATE CAPTURE AFFECTS WOMEN
By Janie Booth and Victoria Wang
State capture refers to the efforts of the powerful elite to influence the government into operating in a way that benefits private interests. In South Africa, it is diverting money from social delivery programmes, which are supposed to promote human rights and social welfare, and into the hands of the power elite.
This affects the lives of every citizen, rich or poor. Half of the people in South Africa live in poverty, and this directly hurts the poor. Investing in human rights is important to ensure that all people have access to clean water, food, healthcare, education, and housing.
CHECKING THE NEWS EACH MORNING BRINGS A CONTINUOUS STREAM OF UPDATES ON STATE CAPTURE IN SOUTH AFRICA.
But do they talk at all about women?
By Janie Booth
State capture has an impact on all citizens of South Africa, but none more than black women. Women’s realities here are determined by race, class, and gender-based access to resources and opportunities. State capture is placing women’s rights at risk: rights like the right to adequate housing, food, healthcare, education, social security and water.
The government can–and should–be held accountable if they do not promote, protect, respect and fulfil these rights. They have a duty to meet the basic needs of all people, and must not do things that make it more difficult to gain access to these rights.
State Capture – How does it work?
We encounter poverty every day. When we are approached by the mostly young, mostly black beggars that roam on seemingly every street we take, I am struck by a range of emotions: anxiety, fear, annoyance. Mixed in those feelings used to be pity and empathy, but they are becoming increasingly difficult to evoke. Instead of addressing the disheartening levels of poverty and inequality in Cape Town, it’s almost like I’m on autopilot, growing irritated at those who get in my way when I’m trying to get from one place to another. My passiveness unsettles me.
The recent popular revelations of state capture in South Africa have shocked many South Africans out of a state of budding post-racialist thought, waking them from this sleep of complacency and passiveness. “State capture,” or the way in which President Zuma and senior government officials have colluded with a shadow network of corrupt brokers and the rich elite such as the Gupta family, aims to repurpose state institutions so that they serve the purpose of benefiting the rich elite at the cost of the already-poor.
Sex work in South Africa must be decriminalised —in a democratic society, this cannot be put on the back burner any longer.
The decriminalisation of sex work would be a progressive and proactive step forward in supporting the rights that are enshrined in our Constitution. It would limit the risk of HIV infection for sex workers and go a long way towards curbing the abuse that they experience at the hands of customers, employers, and the police.
By Janie Booth and Victoria Wang
Gender-based violence is an injustice affecting many women and girls worldwide. The problem is of significant magnitude and South Africa records some of the highest rates of sexual violence. Violence against sex workers is particularly pronounced.
I was therefore greatly dismayed when the African Law Commission (ALC) released its long-awaited Report on Sexual Offences: Adult Prostitution on 26 May 2017, recommending that sex work should be fully criminalised. The report is not only outdated, having taken over three years to be released, but it completely ignores human rights research supported by recommendations by international instruments such as the CEDAW and Maputo Protocol.
A SUMMARY OF THE STATE CAPACITY RESEARCH PROJECT’S REPORT ON STATE CAPTURE
By Victoria Wang
The State Capacity Research Project’s report on state capture aims to prove that state institutions are being repurposed to redirect rents intended for development into the control of a powerful elite that operates illegally. The Gupta family has been instrumental in this repurposing of state institutions. The authors of this report describe the relationship between the Guptas, President Zuma and the government as mutually beneficial, or symbiotic.
(Read the full report here: http://pari.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Betrayal-of-the-Promise-25052017.pdf )
An integrated plan to curb taxi rapes should be driven from the top—by government.
By Sehaam Samaai, Director of the Women’s Legal Centre
It is with devastation that we at the Women’s Legal Centre (WLC) take note of the latest taxi rape in Johannesburg and of the many women who are coming forward to reveal information about sexual assaults by taxi drivers.
Following reports of these assaults, former Transport Minister Dipuo Peters has condemned the spate of taxi-related rapes and sexual assaults in Johannesburg and vowed that the owners of any taxis used by the perpetrators will be dealt with harshly if it emerges that they are registered operators. She has promised taxi commuters in Johannesburg that the perpetrators will be found and brought to book.
Though Leadership – The non-recognition of Muslim marriages is tantamount to an ongoing violation of the human rights of women
As we celebrate Human Rights Day on 21 March we must remember that some 16 years after the Constitution came into force, legal recognition has still not been afforded to Muslim marriages. This results in widespread oppression and gender discrimination in areas such as divorce, the duties of support, parental rights and responsibilities and inheritance.
By Seehaam Samaai Director of the Women’s Legal Centre
In South Africa, great emphasis is placed on the right to equality because of the many years of suppression and gross violations of human rights under apartheid rule. This right is recorded in the preamble of the South African Constitution indicating its importance and the Constitution serves as the legitimate legal instrument on the enshrinement of the rights of all individuals in the country.
As we celebrate Human Rights Day on 21 March we must remember that some 16 years after the Constitution came into force, legal recognition has still not been afforded to Muslim marriages. This results in widespread oppression and gender discrimination in areas such as divorce, the duties of support, parental rights and responsibilities and inheritance. It is not uncommon for Muslim women to be left destitute and without any legal recourse because of their legal status.
WLC carries the torch for women who still continue to struggle to realise substantive equality in South Africa.
By Seehaam Samaai, Director of the Women’s Legal Centre (WLC)
With less than a year left until the deadline for countries to reach the Millennium Development Goals set by the United Nations, the majority of women in South Africa are not benefitting from gains made in terms of gender equality. Women of all ages in South Africa still experience inequality within and outside their homes. Continue Reading