The #SandtonShutdown organisers have demanded 2% from companies listed on the JSE. We are hoping to achieve some kind of commitment from the private sector through the JSE. We are demanding 2% from all companies listed on the JSE, which will be used to fight gender-based violence,” one of the organisers of the march, Fatima Moutloatse, said on Friday. Moutloatse said they had also submitted demands for a two-day gender-based violence and femicide summit. Hundreds of women gathered outside the JSE in Sandton as early as 3am on Friday.
ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) president Bathabile Dlamini joined the march, calling on government to change its approach when dealing with gender-based violence.
Dlamini, who seemed angered by reports that she had been chased away earlier, said the league attended the march to participate in a call for action. Women and men clad in black sang songs and paced through the streets, some chanting “Khwezi! Khwezi!”, the name used for Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo who, in 2005, accused former President Jacob Zuma of rape.
Asked about the demand for 2% from companies listed on the JSE to help fight gender-based violence, Dlamini said: “We agree with the demand of 2%. Also the unequal pay for equal work, we agree with the issues of unpaid labour and the economic conditions that have to change. More budget must be put in the women’s programmes.”
Clad in ANCWL regalia, she called on government to use “comprehensive programmes that are going to be protective and preventative, and not reactive”.
“If we always react, more young women and children are going to be killed,” she said.
“We must change our approach. Parliament has to fast-track some of the demands, like no bail and life sentences without parole for perpetrators. All perpetrators must known to the public. The organisers have called on several businesses to shut down and allow their staff to join the march.
About 300 protesters sang and held placards that read: “Women born to die?”
Others read: “Respect our existence or expect our resistance.” A third read: “I made it out alive. She did not.”
Activist and survivor of gender-based violence Rosie Motene said the first step out of an abusive relationship is “an honest conversation in a secure space”. However, very few women feel they can talk about their experiences of violence.
“Women and men all need to address this issue openly and to be prepared to listen in ways that can make a positive difference.If we can use this climate to really get through the message that silence is an enemy, and provide the means for women to safely speak, we should be able to make some long-overdue, real progress.”
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