Cele: Tackling gender-based violence & training of officers are top priorities

The Police Minister said the SAPS would continue to investigate the abuse of women and children with a view to closing loopholes when it came to lenient jail terms handed to offenders.

FILE: Police Minister Bheki Cele. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Police Minister Bheki Cele said the fight against gender-based violence and the training of police officers remained some of his top priorities for this year.

Cele said the SAPS would continue to investigate the abuse of women and children with a view to closing loopholes when it came to lenient jail terms handed to offenders.

Also, with regards to the physical and mental health of officers in the middle of the worldwide pandemic, he wanted to make sure South Africa's protectors were all vaccinated when the first batches were doled out to frontline workers.

Cele said around 5,000 people were currently in jail serving life sentences for gender-based violence and femicide.

However, he said this was not good enough. This year he wanted to see many more convictions along with hefty sentences.

“That’s a battle we must all win. If we do better and there is support, that will be one of our achievements.”

WATCH: Police Minister Cele releases quarterly crime statistics, reported rapes on the rise

Asked about his plans for the police service, Cele said he wanted to make sure that officers were among the first in line to receive the COVID-19 vaccination when South Africa finally got its hands on the much-needed jabs, while also paying special attention to mental health.

“They do need to be supported themselves. They do get fear sometimes, so they need to be supported well.”

Cele also wanted to do better when it came to training officers this year.

Last year he was supposed to have trained 7,000 officers and 3,000 reservists, but this all fell through in the year of the global pandemic.

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