Social Development Deputy Minister Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu has called on men to help the country reduce HIV prevalence and hold each other accountable for the sexual assault of young women.
The Deputy Minister was speaking at the launch of the District Men’s Parliament held in Randfontein, Johannesburg, on Thursday.
The launch by the department is in partnership with the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) Men’s Sector and the West Rand District Municipality, as part of the Takuwani Riime Men’s Movement which supports the department’s Men Championing Change Programme.
The programme seeks to encourage men and boys to play a role in the prevention of HIV, Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF), and other social ills.
The District Men’s Parliaments are as a result of the successful National Men’s Parliament, which was held in Cape Town on 19 November 2018.
The Men’s Parliaments will provide a public participation platform for men and boys to engage and discuss issues regarding the men’s responses to adverse social conditions and for them to take accountability for their contribution in resolving social challenges affecting communities.
The Deputy Minister said that the department is hosting the Men’s Parliament in a bid to try and say “can we bring down the high prevalence of HIV and AIDS”.
She encouraged men to be responsible and treat women with the respect they deserve.
“We want a South Africa that is prosperous by 2030 [and] without you we cannot be able to do that.”
Echoing the Deputy Minister’s sentiments, West Rand District Municipality Mayor Diteko Moreotsenye called for responsible men who must prevent corruption and any form of crime that may impact negative in the lives of people.
Creating a better future
Moreotsenye warned that failure to become responsible men, would result in society losing out on the opportunities for creating a better future.
“This programme can never be a government programme. It must be a society driven programme that is meant to work with government to achieve objectives that government has set and ourselves as people in this country. We want to commit that men are here and want to be the best they can.
“I am confident that the team of West Rand is the team that will bring about change and protect our female counterparts, young girls, and ensure that young boys do understand the need to contribute in the future positively,” Moreotsenye said.
Speaking on behalf of West Rand Men’s Sector, Boitshepo Lesetedi, said teenage pregnancy is the result of absent fathers or lack of parenting.
Lesetedi encouraged the men and women gathered to be parents and role models to their children.
According to the report presented, over 200 women were raped in the district.
The next District Men’s Parliament will be held in Vryburg on 25 August 2019. – SAnews.gov.za