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OVER 400 SODV CASES REPORTED IN 8 MONTHS

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EZULWINI – Rape is the leading cause of most arrests under the newly-enacted SODV Act, with a total of 430 cases reported in a space of eight months.


Inspector Zwakele Dlamini said these were reported cases of rape under the SODV Act, between August 2018 to March 2019. Dlamini was speaking during the Sexual Harassment and Corporate Bullying Symposium yesterday, which was held at the Royal Swazi Convention Centre. The inspector said there were 28 reported cases of sexual harassment and only four of unlawful stalking.


He said sexual abuse and domestic violence were the rampant offences in the country. According to Dlamini, not a single day passed without a report of such offences being made at the various police stations. 


He said in the past, the Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS) did not have tools to fight and confront such offences and relied solely on Common Law as there was no specific legislation to deal with such.


Dlamini applauded government for passing the SODV Act, 2018. According to the inspector, the Act had brought along changes, criminalising acts which were not considered as criminal offences before. These acts included unlawful stalking, sexual harassment, sexual assault as well as making and distributing pornography.


He said the Act had also repealed the Girls and Women’s Protection Act 39/1920. According to Dlamini, the Act had also provided an added responsibility to the police. “The police are to apply for Interim Protection Order on behalf of the aggrieved person,” Dlamini said.


Further, he said the Act provided for mandatory reporting of offences by any person who witnessed or received any information on an offence. He said the Act further provided for no withdrawal of charges or coercion not to report and also provided for stiffer sanctions.


Enforce


Dlamini stated that the role of the police was to enforce the law, hence they encouraged members of the community to come forward and report cases of sexual harassment in order to bring perpetrators of such heinous acts before justice. “We will investigate such cases so that offenders face the full might of the law.”


Meanwhile, traditionalist, Bongani S’gcokosiyancinca Dlamini said in the cultural perspective, a man could not rape his wife. He said there was no way he supported marital rape in as much as he endorsed the SODV Act.


‘S’gcoko’ said the people responsible for the law did not understand tradition and culture. “When proposing to a woman and she agrees, then further you ask her hand in marriage, in the traditional way it means she would be submissive,” said ‘S’gcoko’. He said a woman therefore forfeits the right when becoming a wife and the only time you could not have sexual intercourse with her was when she was not feeling well. “When she refuses having sexual intercourse without informing me that she is sick, she is on the wrong,” he said.

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