The Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development in South Africa has launched a new programme to tackle violence against the country’s LGBT community.

According to News24, Jeff Radebe confirmed on Tuesday the introduction of the programme as part of an extension on South Africa’s equality clause, which he acknowledged had not stemmed anti-gay attacks.

He said: “Notwithstanding the comprehensive constitutional and legal framework and protection for LGBTI persons, we have sadly witnessed acts of discrimination and violent attacks being perpetrated against LGBTI persons.”

Over the past year, a national task team had developed an intervention strategy to deal with hate crime-related violence.

Mr Rabede said: “The purpose of the rapid response team is to urgently attend to the pending and reported cases in the criminal justice system where hate crimes have been committed against LGBTI persons.

“As a department we have finalised a policy framework with regards to the need for a specific legal framework for hate crimes.”

The Minister of Justice first confirmed his department had finalised the draft policy framework last year.