KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Sihle Zikalala, has made a clarion call on men to be at the forefront in speaking out and reporting Gender-Based Violence and Femiside (GBVF).
Zikalala made the call during the launch of Men’s Month campaign held in Durban on Tuesday.
The month-long campaign aims to address the root cause of GBV and depression affecting men.
As part of the campaign launch, Zikalala, joined by Sport, Arts and Culture MEC Hlengiwe Mavimbela, Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane and eThekwini Municipality Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda, took part in a march, which started at King Dinuzulu Park and ended at the Durban City Hall.
Other participants included the KZN Provincial Men’s Forum Bishop Bhekimpi Mchunu, Inkosi Felix Bhengu representing the KZN Provincial House of Traditional and Koi-San Leaders, as well as men in uniform, mostly members of the South African Police Service, amongst others.
The marchers carried placards bearing messages encouraging men to speak out against abuse and to take a stand against gender-based violence.
Delivering the keynote address, Zikalala highlighted that Men’s Month coincides with Nelson Mandela Month and men can learn a great deal from the leadership of the international Human Rights icon.
The Premier noted that during Men’s Month, they are enjoined to not only celebrate South African men, but also pay attention to the number of challenges confronting them.
The Premier commended the majority of men in the province who lead by example, and honoured many men, who despite their circumstances and challenges, stay away from crime.
“We pay our respects to the men who are constantly challenging and changing themselves. These good men are forsaking old patriarchal teachings that privilege men at the expense of women. These men are bringing boys and girls in relations of equality and mutual respect.
“They are the men who are helping our nation give birth to Generation Equality. They are giving birth to the new KwaZulu-Natal man who embraces peace, human rights, and dialogue to resolve problems, not violence or intimidation," Zikalala said.
He said the Provincial Government further commends many men who are actively fighting against the despicable scourge of violence perpetrated against women and children.
Zikalala emphasised it is the good and honourable men who are enemies of Gender-Based Violence and Femicide, and the eternal hope that “our country will ultimately eradicate all forms of violence that women continue to face.”
“We regard the good men of our province and country as critical stakeholders in our national effort to prevent and end the crisis of Gender- Based Violence. We look to them to play their role in supporting victims of GBV, and to ensure that wrongdoers face the full might of the law,” the Premier said.
To prevent or stop violence directed at women, we have to eradicate the culture of violence, which is rooted in our society, he said.
Support for women-owned enterprises
Zikalala reiterated that through the Department of Social Development, the Provincial Government will continue to offer psychosocial support and safe spaces to support the victims of GBV.
“Our programme of Radical Economic Transformation will continue to support women-owned enterprises and job creation targeting women. We are determined to ensure that at least 50% of Operation Vula funding goes to support women-owned businesses.
“The KZN RASET (Radical Agrarian Socio-Economic Transformation) programme and government set-asides targeting women are already bearing fruit in empowering women economically and bringing them to the mainstream of the economy. Our traditional leaders also have a big role to play in eliminating the practice of ukuthwala," the Premier said.
Throughout Men’s Month and beyond, the provincial government will host ongoing programmes and dialogues aimed at tackling mental health issues, including depression and other social ills that affect men at home, work and society. – SAnews.gov.za