Break the silence, stop the violence

Friday, September 27, 2019

Enough is enough, no one has the right to abuse others, and this must stop, says Women, Youth, Children and Persons with Disabilities Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

This as public servants took to the streets to speak in one voice calling for an end to gender-based violence (GBV).

The march, which started from Church Square in Tshwane to the Union Buildings on Friday, was aimed at mobilising public servants to be champions to end violence against women and children abuse, and to sensitise all South Africans to acknowledge that violence against women and girls is a societal problem.

The Minister said that taking part in the march really shows how committed public servants are in ending GBV.

“This is long overdue and we must stand and start from today the 365 space. As government, we are here to declare war against gender-based violence and femicide, and to support all the victims of GBV.

“Never give space to perpetrators of violence and you should never harbour those criminals. Victims must be protected and that all employees must know that violation leads to dismissal,” Mashabane said, adding that all government departments must have sexual harassment policies.

National Director of Pubic Prosecutions, Advocate Shamila Batohi, said they were not going to stand by and allow women and children to be abused in this manner any longer.

Batohi emphasised a need to redouble efforts to fight the scourge of violence against women and children.

“We know that one of the great deterrence to crime is the knowledge that there will be consequences, that there will be prosecutions (and) investigations, but that is where we are failing. A very small percentage of these cases that are reported, actually results in convictions,” Batohi said.

She said she has met with National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole about two weeks ago and they’ve put together a strategy on how collectively with their partners they can ensure that there are prosecutors dedicated to these cases.

Make GBVF your responsibility

Small Business Development Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni urged public servants to make the issue of GBV and femicide their responsibility to deal with it in their communities, as violence happens where they live.

“As government, we are committed to empowering women. We are not going to keep quite when our friends are being abused … we will fight anybody who rapes,” Ntshavheni warned.

She also pleaded with the victims to refuse to withdraw the cases.

Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu, joined by ministers, deputy ministers and Directors-General from various government departments came together to light a torch in memory of all the victims of GBV.

The march was also used to deliver a pledge where public servants recommitted to contribute towards the elimination of GBV in the Public Service and their communities. –