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16 Days of Activism: Cops appeal for help to crack unsolved crimes

According to the latest statistics, crimes against women and children increased in six provinces in the year ending March 2019.

Mandy Silva (37) was murdered in her Northwold, in Randburg, home in 2015. No one else other than her husband and then four-year-old son was in the house. Picture: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG - Monday marks the start of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence and the police's specialised unit dealing with sexual offences cases is asking for help from communities to crack unsolved crimes.

According to the latest statistics, crimes against women and children increased in six provinces in the year ending March 2019.

Major general Bafana Linda is the head of the police’s family violence, child protection and sexual offences unit.

He said certain cases were solved quicker than others, but this depended on the evidence and experience of investigators.

“We win and solve cases through partnership. We need information from the community. The lack of information delays solving cases. Hence, we humbly request our communities to come forth.”

Uyinene Mrwetyana, Reeva Steenkamp, Karabo Mokoena, Anene Booysen, Dolly Tshabalala and the list goes on.
These women, who were victims of gender-based violence, did not die in silence.

Their cases were widely covered in the media, putting pressure on the police to move with speed.

But it’s small progress, as many other cases remain unsolved and are left to become part of the statistics in an already overburdened and under-resourced police service.

Mandy Silva, aged 37, was murdered in her Northwold home, in Randburg, in 2015. No one else other than her husband and then four-year-old son was in the house.

More than four years later, Silva's mother, Eileen Brothy, is aching for answers: “You could see she was either kicked or hit. This has been going on for two years, that I know of.”

A 2018 report by Statistics South Africa on crimes against women shows that in 2000, the murder rate of women in South Africa was more than five times the world average but that it declined steadily during 2000 and 2015.

In terms of police response, more women were less satisfied than men and attributed this to a widely shared belief that nothing would be done.