Dlamini slams hypocrisy of women that hit children

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Cape Town – The Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, today spoke out against the hypocrisy of women who hit their children in their homes, and then call for an end to violence against women.

Speaking at a national summit on violence against women, held at Lord Charles Hotel in the city, Dlamini said she was shocked by the reaction of women when her department recently began moves to amend the Childrens Act – at the request of the UN – and ban spanking in the home.

“When we started talking about that, women came down like a ton of bricks on us. We were shocked that the very same people that are fighting violence against (themselves) want to chastise their children,” said Dlamini.

She said the abuse that South African women meted out on their children was the continuation of the violence of meted out on previous generation under apartheid.

“We are now within a different period of struggle. We have to build our country. We are living in a young democracy. It is our responsibility to ensure that we have a country that is peaceful,” said Dlamini.

Dlamini said the White Paper on Families, which will address the decline in community family values and assist in tackling domestic violence, was also currently before Parliament.

The Department of Social Development is also considering a Victim Support Services Bill to improve the support that victims of crime get.

Meanwhile, Dlamini also praised the testimony of a city girl who earlier received a rousing ovation after telling of how she was gang raped recently by a group of men in Kayamnandi and the insensitive treatment she received from police and local hospital.

Also addressing the summit, the Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, John Jeffrey, said South Africa had a number of laws to combat violence against women, but pointed out that the greatest challenge remained the sexist and patriotic beliefs of many South African men and the implementation of the laws itself, often involving poor treatment and service by officials.

He said more needed to be done to discipline those at certain police stations or courts that failed to carry out these laws effectively.

The government has passed a number of laws and measures to tackle violence against women – including the announcement earlier this month of the re-instatement of the specialised sexual offences courts and the signing into law by President Jacob Zuma last month of the Human Trafficking Bill.

The Justice Department had also set up a task team to address violence against the lesbian community, while a sexual offences register was set up in 2009.

Jeffrey said the sexual offences register currently contains 3 753 registered sex offenders, guilty of sexual offences against children and people with disabilities.

Those registered as sex offenders are prohibited from working with children and people with disabilities or applying for foster care or adoption.

The Human Trafficking Act provides for fines of up to R100 million or life imprisonment for those found guilty of child or women trafficking.

The act also contains penalties for those using debt bondage in the trafficking of persons and processing or tampering with travel documents, and also penalizes those using the services of those involved in trafficking.

Jeffrey also pointed out that despite the number of applications under the Domestic Violence Act having increased 34% from 208 000 applications in 2011/12 to 246 609 in 2011 – the number of criminal cases had fallen by four percent from 12 224 in 2011/12 to 11 700 in 2012/13.

Earlier, North West Premier Thandi Modise called on civil society to play a crucial role to combat sexual violence, adding that it was time women themselves should stop being complacent.

She said women must not hide family members that rape or commit sexual violence but must report these to the police.

The summit was organised by Ilitha Labantu, an NGO dedicated to supporting women, in partnership with the African Women Independent Forum and Statistics SA. – SAnews.gov.za

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