Johannesburg - Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe has called on men to not only stop abusing women and children, but also stand up and be counted in the fight against these violent acts.
"The message we seek to communicate is simple: real men do not abuse women; real men do not mistreat their children," said the Deputy President, speaking at an event to mark the 2nd International Men's Day in Johannesburg on Thursday.
All men need to be aware that as long as they mete out violence to women, the country cannot proudly lay claim to manhood, said Motlanthe, adding that real men also did not remain silent when they see abuse and social crimes being committed.
"Real men don't remain silent when other men use sexual violence to assert their authority. What essentially defines being a proudly caring man is a culture of being cultured in our outlook, especially to the vulnerable groups in our communities."
Accompanied by Minister of Social Development, Edna Molewa, and Minister of Women, Children and People Living with Disabilities, Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya, Motlanthe said men must embrace the most vulnerable members of families and instil values of gender equality in each step taken.
"Our attitude towards our wives, our girlfriends, our mothers, our grandmothers, our sisters and families in general could be one of respect and appreciation. If all of us men in South Africa could begin to live out this positive message of being proud of our manhood, defined by values of equality, we could indeed make this a better world," said Motlanthe.
International Men's Day is commemorated on 19 November across the world under the theme "Proud to be a caring man". The theme aims to demonstrate that there are many caring men out there who take care of their wives, children, families and communities.
Scores of men, both young and old and from various civil organizations, traditional leaders and communities gathered under one roof to promote the culture on anti-abuse against women and children.
The event also attended by women and children was hosted by the National Association with People Living with HIV and AIDS (NAPWA) and Positive Men's Movement of South Africa. NAPWA Secretary General, Nkululeko Nxesi, said men must be at the forefront in the fight against the few men who abuse our mothers and rape our sisters.
"We must unite in the struggle against domestic violence, HIV and AIDS, poverty and other social ills which affect mostly women and children," he said.
Minister Molewa warned that men must stand up and be fathers who shield and bring up a child in a proper manner, adding that women respect men who respect them.
She said government would remain committed in fighting this social scourge which undermines the rights of women and children.
Meanwhile, this event comes few days before government kick-starts the 16 Days of No Violence against Women and Children.
Motlanthe assured that this day will combine meaningfully the messages communicated during the 16 Days of Activism campaign - the better to strengthen collective message that there is a need for men to play a role as fathers, as brothers and as caregivers and protectors.