Western Cape ranked the least safe province for women, according to new survey

Photographer Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency(ANA)

Photographer Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency(ANA)

Published Mar 15, 2024


Cape Town - The Western Cape has been ranked as the least safe province for women, followed by Gauteng and the Eastern Cape, while Limpopo is considered the safest province.

This is according to the insurance company 1st for Women after the home insurance brand designed a survey to identify the safest provinces.

A nationwide survey previously revealed 76% feel unsafe and 30% consider emigration due to safety concerns, which prompted them to take their own survey.

The company report comes at a time when the Western Cape is currently dealing with the matter of six-year-old Joshlin Smith, who disappeared from outside her home in Saldanha Bay, near Cape Town, last month.

Meanwhile, this week, 17-year-old Ongeziwe Kamlana, who went missing in Gugulethu last month, was found dead in Kuils River, more than 25km from home.

In another tragic case, the body of Monneashia Prins, 11, was found in a canal near her Ithemba Farms informal settlement home in Eerste River last month.

Her family identified her body at the morgue.

As the province experiences an increase in the number of missing people and children, the survey further illustrates the widely accepted GBV issue plaguing the province.

The head of 1st For Women Insurance, Seugnette van Wyngaard, said: “The Western Cape has come bottom of the safety index as it had the highest number of reported incidents per 100 000 people for community-reported serious crimes, property-related crimes and theft of, or from, a motor vehicle.

“However, despite reports of some crimes being higher, this does not necessarily mean that they are more frequent.

“The region has a well-established infrastructure for reporting crimes here and as such higher crime stats could be down to a more supportive reporting culture, which is actually a positive rather than a negative.

“The index is a reflection of crimes that have been reported only and women’s perceptions of safety within their provinces, so it can only give us part of the bigger picture.

“We’ve used the data available to us to highlight the provinces that score safest to help females choose where to live, work, study and, hopefully, feel more fearless here in South Africa,” Van Wyngaard said.

Van Wyngaard further added that the survey of 6 596 women revealed just how many were feeling “unsafe” or “completely unsafe” in everyday situations in their province.

“This included walking alone at night (98%), driving alone (77%), going out with friends (63%), walking alone during the day (66%), and even simply being alone at home (54%).

“Sadly, many respondents had also already been victims of a crime (61%), including a house robbery or break-in (32%), cellphone theft (24%), handbag theft (13%), smash and grab (8%), gender-based violence (6%) and hijacking (5%),” Van Wyngaard said.

Meanwhile, a crime against children report released by Statistics SA revealed that households with children under the age of 17 had experienced alarmingly high levels of crime.

The data revealed that the Western Cape had the highest number of reported murder cases affecting children, accounting for 23.8%, followed closely by KwaZulu-Natal at 20.7% and Gauteng at 17.8%.

In response to the survey, MEC of Police Oversight and Community Safety, Reagen Allen, said that the Western Cape Government prioritises the safety of women, children, the elderly and vulnerable groups, stating that crimes against women were alarmingly high and required immediate action.

Allen emphasised that there was a need for the SAPS to intensify efforts to safeguard vulnerable individuals and groups.

“As the Western Cape Government, we encourage our women or any person that has been a victim of a crime to report their matter to SAPS, so that the perpetrators can be arrested and convicted.

“Through our oversight, we ensure that SAPS’s victim empowerment rooms have the required material, equipment and setting where women and children can be assisted when they come to report a crime.

“Different provincial departments also have various programmes which directly seek to support vulnerable women.

“I urge our communities to work together so that these levels of crime against our vulnerable groups are addressed,” Allen added.

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Cape Argus