He condemned the social perceptions about the preconceived roles of girls and boys regarding behaviour and urged parents to improve the way they raise their children.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has commended Cheryl Zondi, one of the alleged victims of the Nigerian-born pastor Timothy Omotoso, for coming forward to testify about her experience, while also speaking out against other violators of women.
“As a society, we must applaud the courage of women like Cheryl Zondi, who are prepared to testify about their ordeals. As a society, we must express our deep gratitude to them for leading the way in the struggle against s-e-xual violence and affirm our commitment to support and protect them,” he said.
The president attributed gender-based violence (GBV) to patriarchy and called for the perpetrators to be named and shamed.
He said GBV was a real problem in South Africa and that the majority of its perpetrators were men. He said government aimed to completely end femicide in the country.
Ramaphosa told the presidential summit on gender-based violence at Irene in Pretoria East yesterday that, despite the country having progressive laws and being a signatory to many international instruments opposing violence and discrimination against women, it “does not have an effective, coordinated response to the scourge of gender-based violence”.
He cited recent data from the World Health Organisation that showed that South Africa’s femicide rate was 12.1 per 100,000 in 2016, which was almost five times higher than the global average of 2.6 per 100,000.
Also, the South African Police Service crime statistics report for 2018 indicated that femicide increased by 11% over the last two years, while the Stats SA report showed that 138 per 100 000 women were raped last year, the highest rate in the world.
“We cannot, and we will not, rest until we have brought those figures down to zero.
We are aiming for a femicide rate of zero per 100 000. We want to reach a point where no woman, child or man has to experience the violence, violation and trauma of r@pe,” he said.
He said women were often violated by their intimate partners in the privacy of their homes where they were hit, r@ped, assaulted, emotionally abused and killed.
“There is a danger that society begins to normalise such practices, that is why we need to be vigilant. “Condemnation needs to be constant and consistent, and perpetrators need to be prosecuted,” he said.