14 June 2022
The horrific and disgusting sights of domestic violence in South Africa hit close to home when videos of Nicolene Swart (MISA member), brutally beaten by her former husband, Jaco Swart, went viral on social media.
Jaco Swart got a R20 000 fine and a suspended sentence of three years imprisonment after he pleaded guilty to charges of assault to do grievous bodily harm in the Pretoria-North Magistrate Court. He was the owner of the dealership at the time.
“I put up with his beatings for years because I was too ashamed to tell anyone what was going on. I did not know where to go to start over with a new future for my sons and me. I was afraid he would kill me if I tried to leave him. He was always so sorry for what he did,” says Swart.
She managed to obtain a protection order and laid charges against her husband after the final straw in 2018 when he continued beating her up for two days.
Swart left Pretoria for good and started a new life with her sons in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. In 2019, she started working as a salesperson for a dealership and joined #MISA.
Swart agreed to be MISA’s face and tell her story to MISA’s members for the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children Campaign from 25 November (International Day of No Violence against Women) to 10 December (International Human Rights Day) this year.
South Africa has one of the highest rates of violence against women and girls in the world.
According to an earlier study done, one in five South African women older than 18 has experienced physical violence, but the picture of gender-based attacks varies according to marital status and wealth. Four in 10 divorced or separated women reported physical violence, as has one in three women in the poorest households.
It is believed that the country’s high unemployment rate and poverty levels are big contributing factors. The unemployment rate in South Africa has decreased to 34.5% in the first quarter of 2022.
According to Statistics South Africa almost 50% of assaults were committed by someone close to the victim. A friend or acquaintance accounted for 22%, a spouse or intimate partner for 15% and a relative of another household member for 13%. About 11% of assaults were committed by “others” and a chilling 9% by a “mob or group of persons”.
Domestic violence is typically manifested as a pattern of abusive behaviour towards an intimate partner in a dating or family relationship, where the abuser exerts power and control over the victim.
Police Minister Bheki Cele announced that between October and December last year, there were more than 6 800 murders reported and more than 11 700 rape and sexual assault cases. Read more about this in the next edition of the #MISA eData, our monthly, digital newsletter.
“Over 5,012 of the rape incidents took place at the home of the victim or rapist. 674 rapes were domestic violence related and 632 of rape cases in this category, involved female victims of which 42 were males.”
Martlé Keyter, MISA’s Chief Executive Officer: Operations, says MISA is not only taking a stance against domestic violence and all forms of gender based violence, but is an advocate for eliminating violence and harassment in the retail motor industry.
#MISA established a web-based point of contact dedicated to the reporting and resolution of incidents.
If you have any complaints or grievances of violence and harassment in the workplace, please report your complaint to #MISA at endGBV@ms.org.za.
All grievances will be handled confidential.
This benefit will not be limited to #MISA’s members only, but is intended to assist all employees in the retail motor industry.
Swart says she encourages employees to report. “Reporting is the first step to get help. I know it is not easy, but take the first step and report.”
Issued on behalf of #MISA by Sonja Carstens, Media, Liaison and Communication Specialist.