South African communities and government officials have to escalate the fight against gender-based violence (GBV) and femicide being committed by men in the country, Minister in the Presidency for women, youth and people with disabilities, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said on Monday.
“Women don’t do these painful things to themselves. It is men. The perpetrators are all men. So it has to start with the communities, and all people who serve this government, and make sure that every woman can walk the streets of a free South Africa without fear of being tampered with,” said the minister.
But it must start in the bedroom. We should never had to have femicide in our books.”
Nkoana-Mashabane made the remarks during a security cluster virtual dialogue on GBV and femicide held in Pretoria under the theme “improving access to justice for the victims and survivors of GBV and femicide”.
She said honouring women in South Africa should not be reserved for August, but throughout the year.
“This is a call to all South Africans, in all corners of leadership, to rise up, in particular when those who have been perpetual victims are saying they are tired of being victims. We are not spectators.”
At the same conference, police minister Bheki Cele said the killing of women and children was a shame he lived with every day, as a member of cabinet, and as a man.
“Allow me to start this dialogue by sharing my vision with you … to have a young woman walking alone in the middle of the night from wherever she is coming from and wherever she is going without a fear of being harassed, assaulted, raped, or even murdered by a man. This is a vision that all of us will have to fight hard and be hopeful that it is realised during our lifetime,” said Cele.
“The brutal killing of women in this country is a shame I carry each day as a South African, as a cabinet member, as a member of society, a father, a husband and a man out there. It’s a fact, men commit these heinous gender-based crimes. It is often men that the women know, men that they love, men that they trust and expect protection from.”
Cele said gender-based crimes had been prioritised by the South African Police Service (SAPS), and that president Cyril Ramaphosa had declared it a second pandemic, akin to Covid-19.
The dialogue closes the country’s August 2020 women’s month programme.
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