SA must unite to fight violence against women, children

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Cape Town – Minister in the Presidency responsible for Women, Susan Shabangu, says the fight against the violence of women and children is for all South Africans.

The Minister said this when she participated in a debate of the Presidency’s Budget Vote on Wednesday.

She said this after an emotional couple of weeks where the nation has been mourning the tragic killings of women and children across the country.

Minister Shabangu said she once again stood in pain after Hannah Cornelius of Stellenbosch, Unathi Madotyeni of Langa and Iyapha Yamile of Khayelitsha became the latest victims of the scourge after they were killed recently.

“These heinous murders of women and children by their boyfriends, fathers, husbands and uncles, who are supposed to love them, must stop.

“The battle against violence against women is for all of us. Men and women must take a stand. Communities are taking a stand, getting organised to march and to establish organisations in response to violence against women. The communities are working with law enforcement to ensure that perpetrators are arrested.

“I call on society to unite in fighting gender-based violence,” she said.

The Minister said society must get to a point where good behaviour and better values are encouraged.

She said the Department of Women will continue to work with social partners, traditional leaders, religious leaders, the private sector, men’s organisations and taxi associations to fight the scourge.

“It would also be good to see some of us expending our energies to the cause in the marches taking place against gender-based violence. Soon we will be going to ask for women to vote for us, but what are we doing now to help them in their hour of need?

“In the past few days, my office and the department have received correspondence from individuals and organisations that are ready to work with us in stopping this carnage,” she said.

Second leg of dialogues on abuse heading to Mpumalanga

The Minister said next month, government will take the national dialogues on abuse after President Jacob Zuma first launched the pilot in Limpopo.

The dialogues are a mode of engagement with the victims and perpetrators of violence against women, the Minister said. The aim is to use the information gathered and lessons learned to prevent the abuse of women and children and to raise awareness.

The dialogues have seen government work with churches, traditional leaders, civil society, legal and the private sector to raise issues such as incest, alcohol and drug abuse, as well as HIV positive young men raping elderly people with a false belief that they would be cured.

“As part of our commitment to roll out dialogues to other provinces, next month we will be rolling out our dialogues in Mpumalanga,” she said.

She said, meanwhile, that the “She Conquers Campaign”, which is led by Deputy President Ramaphosa, will be part of the dialogues in Mpumalanga.

“The campaign focuses on reducing the high levels of new HIV infections among girls and young women, teenage pregnancies, school dropout rates, sexual and gender-based violence. The campaign also seeks to keep the girl child in school [or education system] until age 24.

“We intend to ensure that the dialogues are more inclusive and reciprocal in seeking out new ways on how to eradicate violence against women,” she said.

Forging nation building and social cohesion

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe, who is responsible for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, said to advance radical socio-economic transformation, government must dedicate its efforts to the National Development Plan and to accelerate its implementation.

He said some attention must also be paid to the role of the private sector, organised labour and other actors in society.

“Society as a whole is called upon to actively participate in the quest to craft the future we want for our country. We must hasten the implementation of programmes to achieve equitable ownership of the economy and redress of spatial segregation inequity through land redistribution.

“We must place nation building and social cohesion at the centre of increased interaction amongst South Africans from different social and racial backgrounds to advance our common humanity,” he said.

The Minister said there was a need to grow strong leadership across society and mobilise all people to be active and responsible citizens to address the challenges facing the country.

“We need to foster the creation of meaningful, sustainable social contracts, which should propel South Africa onto a higher developmental and economic growth trajectory characterised by equity and shared growth,” he said.

National Youth Development Agency Amendment Bill

Meanwhile, Deputy Minister in the Presidency Buti Manamela says during the current financial year, the National Youth Development Agency Amendment Bill will be tabled in Parliament. 

He said the amendment bill will streamline the focus of the agency, as well as introduce institutional mechanisms for strengthening youth development at a provincial and local level. 

“This is important if we want to ensure that our youth development investments go to where they are most needed. 

“The President has mentioned the progress that the Presidential Task Team on the Creative Industries has made in addressing the issues that artists face. The task team has ongoing interaction with the music industry to ensure that the long standing unpaid needle-time bill gets paid to local artists,” he said. -

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