One South African Woman is Murdered Every Three Hours
Crime against women in South Africa is on the rise, here are some safety app that are best suited for South African women.
By Kabelo Netsianda 30 November 2020
The crime statistics for 2017/18 revealed that 2 930 women were murdered. This is equivalent to one murder every three hours. On average, 856 women and 321 children were murdered over 107 days in 2018/19, according to South African Police Service (SAPS) crime statistics.
The Gender-Based Violence Command Centre in South Africa noticed a strong upward trend in violence against women during the lockdown from March 27 to April 16, 2020. In May, this year President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the increased rate of femicide and gender-based violence seen during the lockdown period, where the month of June alone saw the reported deaths of at least 21 women from intimate partner violence.
We are painfully aware of the high-profile case of Uyinene Mrwetyana, a 19-year-old first-year student at the University of Cape Town (UCT) who was raped and murdered at the local post office on August 24 when she went to collect a parcel; Tshegofatso Pule, a 28-year-old beautician who was murdered while 8 months pregnant after she had gone to see her boyfriend, and Naledi Phangindawo, a 25-year-old mother of three who was slain with an axe allegedly by her partner, whose brutal killings made international headlines and sent shockwaves through the country in June 2020.
The national lockdown due to COVID-19 has brought our criminal justice system’s shortcomings under the spotlight. With the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign looming around the corner, let us take this opportunity to see how the country can become innovative in its response to gender-based violence.
The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign is an international campaign that seeks to oppose violence against women and children. It is observed annually from 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) to 10 December (International Human Rights Day). Every year the South African Government, civil-society organisations and business sector utilises this campaign to raise the public’s awareness of the negative impact of violence and abuse have on women and children and to act against abuse. Crime against women in South Africa is on the rise, which is why we wanted to look at which safety app is best for South African women.
Safety Apps such as Namola which is described as SA’s leading safety app that helps victims alert the authorities and emergency services to ensure a speedy response time by the press of a button. It is operational across the country where there is network coverage. Users request help by pressing the button on the app, Namola operators then call back to verify the details of the request then dispatch the emergency service providers required. The App works to complement the 10111 police service. Other than the data cost levied by network providers, Namola is free to use. Namola app is free on both Andriod and IOS. Namola’s family safety feature, allows people to perpetually share their location and movements with the people they choose. This also comes with real-time notifications when they leave or arrive at a location. The service is encrypted and only those you’ve given access to your movements will have access to your information and, in the case of an emergency, your information is shared with emergency services.
The Bull Horns Panic Button app turns your phone into a panic button that will instantly, silently call, send notifications and SMS your emergency contacts. Now your security company (if they partner with the Bull Horns) can see your exact location in realtime and their nearest available response vehicle will be instantly notified and so can proceed towards you. You can also add and receive alerts of local crimes and suspicious activities in your neighbourhood. The latest version of the app enables Bull Horns to easily partner with private security companies and community safety organisation so they can protect their members better. When your members activate the panic button on their phone will call you. Simultaneously you’ll get a desktop alert in your control room (requires only internet access). You will be able to track their exact location on a Google Map, even if they can’t speak or are on the move.
mySOS South Africa’s Active My Emergency allows you to send an emergency alert for yourself or on behalf of a friend. You can choose the nature of your situation, ranging from “medical” to “fire” to “sea rescue”. It also automatically notifies your pre-listed emergency contacts with your full name, location and phone number. mySOS Track Me can auto-track the duration of any outdoor event or journey including running, driving or even hiking. Once the timer runs out and is not cancelled, the app auto-notifies your registered emergency contacts on your behalf. It also provides them with your full name, location and phone number. mySOS South Africa is available on both the Google Play and the App Store; It’s FREE; It’s made for the South African audience and geography; It includes multiple services including an emergency alert system, the ability to locate nearby hospitals, police stations or clinics using your location, and a timing system that sends out a distress message to your emergency contacts if you have not returned home after a certain period of time; mySOS has also just launched a wearable panic button that connects to your phone via Bluetooth, however, the only downfall is that is costs R499 for the panic button.
Emergency response services can improve their response time to emergencies faced by women and children by leveraging on technological advances such as safety apps by partnering with more SAPS police stations nationwide and ensuring that these services are available in all communities and encouraging community members to download the apps. On February 2017, Brooklyn police and Namola App joined forces on Saturday morning in a partnership to fight crime in Menlyn Central Park, according to Namola’s website the partnership allows users to share their physical location with the nearest three police emergency response vehicles and receive an immediate response, members of the community were encouraged to download the free app. We believe that more partnerships like these throughout the country will assist those women and children in need of help, to get it immediately.