Government employees descended on the streets of Pretoria on Friday to support government’s call to end gender-based violence.
They spoke in one voice calling for government to impose harsher sentences on the perpetrators of violence against women.
The public servants, wearing black, gathered at Church Square and proceeded to the Union Buildings were they there was a torch lighting ceremony in honour of the women who have died and the signing of a pledge.
Dieketseng Taule, one of the government employees who took part in the march, told SAnews that government should consider imposing harsher sentences or even the death sentence for those who commit violence against women and children.
“It’s time that government shows no mercy,” Taule said, adding that she herself was once in an abusive relationship. “I had to end the relationship as I could see that I would end up dead.”
Bafana Khambule, speaking to SAnews, said the only thing that would put an end to gender-based violence is implementing harsher sentences.
“Men should know that if you abuse women and children, you are going to jail for a very long time.” he said.
He called on other men to actively get involved in the fight against gender-based violence. “As men we must take the lead in the fight against gender-based violence, enough is enough,” he said.
Sinah Raboroko called on all to assist the victims in reporting the crime to the police.
“Some of the victims are afraid to report incidences of violence, they need to be assisted to report such incidences,” Raboroko said.
Today’s march was aimed at sensitising all South Africans that violence against women and girls is a societal problem. It further sought to reinforce President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call for all sectors of society to work together to stop the violence and the killing of women and children.
President Ramaphosa has called for an extraordinary and immediate response to the scourge of gender-based violence and femicide by all members of the society.
At the Union Buildings, Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu told the marchers that government is committed to providing a safe, healthy and amicable working environment.
“We believe that government employees are not isolated from what is happening in our society. We are members of society before we are government employees,” Mchunu said.
He urged public servants and the public to work with the police, prosecutors and courts to ensure that those who hurt and abuse others are arrested and convicted.
“We also need victims to come forward and testify in such cases so that the GBV problem could be stamped out completely.
“Government does provide support to victims, through institutions such as Thuthuzela Care Centres and the Department of Social Development to prepare victims for cases to ensure successful prosecutions,” Mchunu said. – SAnews.gov.za