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Stakeholders who attended the Tavern Dialogue on the role alcohol plays in gender-based crimes, which was held in Khayelitsha on Thursday, admitted that conversations to put an end to the scourge must continue.

In June, Elitsha reported that major-general Vincent Beaton, the cluster commander for Khayelitsha, said that most murders and gender-based, violent crimes in Khayelitsha happen on weekends and liquor plays a big role.

Held at a popular restaurant and bar, the Tavern Dialogue was endorsed and attended by different stakeholders, including the police ministry, tavern owners, NGOs, beverage companies and residents.

“To fight against gender-based violence and femicide we need to reach people and have these discussions frequently and also we need to speak about the branches of gender-based violence such as intimate partner violence,” said Dumisani Qwebe, the chairperson of the Nyanga Community Policing Forum.

Women as well took a stand and had a say about the violence they have survived and how their bodies are not an object to be used anyhow. Khoni Mdluli, a resident of Khayelitsha, spoke of how men expect sex if they buy a woman a drink. She also complained that the police take their time to attend to complaints, if they show up at all. “Women are dying everyday as well as our children; it’s long overdue something should be done about gender-based violence and femicide,” she said.

Speaking on behalf of Act Now, Edward Tebogo Lerole, stated how rape can be five minutes of violence but the effect on the victim lasts forever. Lerole asked fellow men to make sure that women and children are protected.

To conclude the event, police minister Bheki Cele acknowledged that alcohol plays a huge role in gender-based violence and femicide. “There should be proper education on how to use alcohol socially; those that run shebeens and taverns can plead with their customers to behave when drunk and not hit women after drinking,” he said.

The noise of loud disapproval had gone up when it was announced that the Western Cape premier, Allan Winde and Cape Town Mayor, Geordin-Hill Lewis had declined the invitation to be part of the dialogue. The programme director, Lucky Ntimane said that the premier had sent a message requesting his name be taken off the programme.

The Democratic Alliance has launched a social media campaign calling for Bheki Cele to be removed as a minister as he “has presided over the gutting of SAPS capacity, an attempted insurrection, failing crime intelligence, a massive DNA backlog, a sharp reduction in detective numbers, one-third of SAPS vehicles out of service, and over 9,000 fewer SAPS officers on the streets recently.”

On Friday, Cele presented the quarterly crime statistics which showed a drop in reported cases of sexual offence while murders have increased.