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May 2021 2nd edition

CGE provides access to justice

Written by Dale Hes

Victims of gender-based violence (GBV) who struggle to find the help and support they need are urged to contact the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE). 

The commission can assist with child maintenance, sexual harassment, gender discrimination and GBV, and offers free legal advice and services to victims. 

The commission’s Mofihli Teleki says one of the CGE’s roles is to help victims open court cases. “The legal department accompanies complainants to magistrates courts to open domestic violence cases and assists with the completion of necessary forms. The commission also plays a monitoring role in cases, including rape and sexual offences, sexual harassment and femicide.” 

The commission can also help a victim to obtain a protection order and often works with the National Prosecuting Authority to ensure that the victim gets a fair trial. “In this case, the commission conducts a Watching Brief and performs its monitoring function over GBV cases and examines key issues, such as insensitive conduct by presiding officers, secondary victimisation of survivors and insensitive cross examination processes,” Teleki explains. 

When victims struggle to gain access to justice in Domestic Violence Courts, the commission can act on their behalf, providing legal representation. It is also able to refer victims for psychological support.  

An essential service

The commission has been functioning throughout lockdown as an essential service.

“Even though some court cases have been re-scheduled as a result of the lockdown, urgent matters that pertain to domestic violence and GBV continue to receive attention through the justice system,” says Teleki. 

The commission ensures that the rights of the public are protected. South Africa is an open democracy, committed to fundamental human rights, including the right to equality and the inherent dignity of the person, as per the provisions of the Constitution.”

Register a complaint

Victims of GBV and abuse can call the CGE’s toll-free number 0800 007 709 to register a complaint. They can also send a message to the Facebook page: Gender Commission of South Africa.