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Justice Zak Yacoob delivering his address
at the launch.

The National Association of Democratic Lawyers (NADEL) officially launched its campaign; the Dullah Omar Memorial Project in an effort to break the cycle of gender based sexual violence at UKZN’s Westville Campus recently.

The Dullah Omar Memorial Project aims to strengthen the voice of the victims of gender based sexual violence through ensuring that that the chain of evidence is correctly managed from the earliest stage and throughout the investigation of the crime until successful prosecution.

NADEL President Advocate Max Boqwana said that the association is very concerned about the recent spate of sexual assault against children and women reported in the media which has identified a need for support structures to support the victims of these heinous crimes.

In his address titled: NADEL’s role: lawyering and other positive action against gender based sexual violence, UKZN Ombud and former Constitutional Court justice Zak Yacoob said the campaign will result in the greater protection of the vulnerable.

‘When rape happens it is not enough to throw our hands in the air in horror, we need to understand the material circumstances and create a society where such things will never happen again. I am glad that we have judicial officers, lawyers and police here because we need real transformation to protect the rights of the victims and the rights of the accused,’ he said.

The launch was followed by a workshop that included presentations delivered law academics, judicial officers, victims of gender based sexual violence and NADEL members.

UKZN’s School of law academic advocate Devina Perumal delivered a presentation on adjudicating cases involving gender cases sexual violence towards achieving violence which explored how cases of gender violence are adjudicated in South Africa’s judicial system.

Devina Perumal strongly urged the judiciary to regard such cases as uniquely different from other crimes of violence, given the gendered power differential existing between men and women.  ‘The patriarchal stronghold has to be dismantled in the way in which judicial officers interpret gendered abuses. This stance is mandated by the constitution in order to transform our society in its quest towards achieving substantive equality,’ she said,

The Head of KZN’s  Legal Service in the SAPS, Major General Vicky Mekute spoke on the investigation and collection of evidence process while National Prosecuting Authority’s Senior State Advocate, Advocate Aaron Raletjena delivered a talk on prosecuting crimes against gender based sexual violence.

NADEL’s Vice-president, Advocate Gcina Malindi thanked UKZN for its contribution to the organisations commitment towards eradicating gender violence.