President Cyril Ramaphosa says government supports the call for a pledge that men in South Africa are invited to take to demonstrate their personal commitment to ending gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF).
“Our ultimate goal is to end gender-based violence altogether by mobilising all of society,” President Ramaphosa said during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Thursday night.
Highlighting government’s efforts and achievements to end the scourge, which he described as the second pandemic in the country, the Head of State said together with civil society, government developed the National Strategic Plan (NSP) on gender-based violence as a society-wide response to this pandemic.
“Around R21 billion was dedicated over the medium term to the implementation of the six pillars of the plan, including the economic empowerment of women.
“New laws were introduced to strengthen the response of the criminal justice system gender based violence and provide better support to survivors of such violence,” the President said.
The NSP on GBVF is driven by six pillars, including:
• Extensive legal reform;
• Support for survivors through the provision of evidence toolkits at police stations;
• Psychology and social services;
• The establishment of the GBVF Response Fund which commits both government and the private sector to fund the fight against GBVF;
• Support for Thuthuzela and Khuseleka Care centres, which provide vital services for GBV survivors; and
• The economic empowerment of women.
The President said women are also in the process of developing their own pledge.
As the country celebrates 30 years of freedom, the President noted that government has safeguarded and promoted the basic rights in the Constitution and these include freedom of speech, association, and belief.
“We have defended media freedom and the independence of the judiciary. We have protected and advanced the rights of members of the LGBTQI [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning and intersex] community, and continue to combat all forms of prejudice and intolerance,” the President said.
President Ramaphosa further reaffirmed government’s commitment to continue to build an inclusive economy, focusing on the empowerment of black and women South Africans, advancing workers’ rights, intensifying land reform, and pursuing a just energy transition that leaves no one behind.
“We will continue to strengthen our law enforcement institutions, tackle gender-based violence and fight corruption to make South Africa a safe place for all. We will continue to strengthen local government, professionalise the public service and ensure that public officials are held accountable for their actions.
“We will continue to position our economy to grow and compete in a fast-changing world, to support small businesses, to give young people economic opportunities and to provide social protection to the vulnerable,” President Ramaphosa said.
This year’s SONA, which was the last one for the sixth administration, was held under the theme: “Following up on our commitments: Making your future work better”. – SAnews.gov.za