No mercy for perpetrators of gender-based violence

Monday, January 23, 2023

Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, has called for a clear message to be sent to perpetrators of gender-based violence and femicide, regardless of the position they hold in society.

Nkoana-Mashabane made the call after the arrest of ANC Member of Parliament, Sibusiso Kula, for the alleged murder of his 31-year-old wife, Jennifer Motlhomi, who was stabbed to death at the couple’s home in Kanana, North West, in November 2022.

Kula was arrested in Klerksdorp on Friday and charged for the alleged murder of Motlhomi.

In a statement issued ahead of Kula’s court appearance at the Orkney Magistrate’s Court on Monday, Nkoana-Mashabane called for the court to oppose bail and for perpetrators in positions of power to know that their abusive behaviour will be met with the harshest opposition.

The Minister said in a country where gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) has been declared as a second pandemic, “to have lawmakers who do not respect the rights and lives of women, is unfortunate and must receive the harshest sentences”.

“In North West alone there are three other women who lost their lives at the hands of men and we do not see the anger and uproar of every South African to eradicate this pandemic. Women, children and members of the LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning or queer, intersex) community are under attack in this country and there is no corresponding power to stop this war as the numbers are increasing daily,” Nkoana-Mashabane said.

She noted that during the second Presidential Summit on GBVF last year, emphasis  was placed on the role of men as partners to end GBVF.

“Therefore, to have a Member of Parliament who should lead by example and reflect positive masculinities which should be instilled in all men and boys, depicting the worst form of toxic masculinity must be condemned.

“His [Kula] arrest now affords the justice system an opportunity to demonstrate that if such violence is meted out against women and children, it will act swiftly and harshly to send a clear message to perpetrators, no matter what position they hold in society,” the Minister said.

The Minister added that the justice system must take citizens into their confidence that they stand for justice, particularly in cases of gender-based violence and femicide.

“The law must take its course, but in cases of this nature the justice system must show no mercy when sentencing the perpetrator. No one is above the law and anyone who commits such heinous acts must receive harsh punishment for their crimes,” Nkoana-Mashabane said.

Kula’s appearance in court comes after a recent report that a perpetrator was granted R500 bail in the Colesberg District Court after his arrest for attempted murder of his girlfriend.

Nkoana-Mashabane warned that such decisions send very wrong messages to would-be perpetrators that women’s lives are worthless. –