Pretoria – Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities Lulu Xingwana says the spate of gender-based violence taking place across South Africa must stop.
“We are here to communicate a clear and unequivocal message that violence against women will not be tolerated in our free and democratic society. We wish to reiterate our call to our courts to ensure that they impose the heaviest possible sentence against those found guilty of women and child abuse,” said the minister outside the Pretoria Magistrates Court on Tuesday.
She was among the throngs of people who are attending the court appearance of Oscar Pistorius. The South African sports star is charged with the murder of his girlfriend.
Xingwana said a clear message must be sent to all would-be perpetrators that society and justice system will not tolerate these crimes.
She said domestic violence became even more deadly when guns – legal or illegal - were present in the home, because “they can be used to threaten, injure or kill women and children”.
She called on the public to wage a sustained and effective campaign against the availability of guns in the homes.
“The reality is that Reeva Steenkamp would have been alive if there was no gun in Oscar Pistorius’s house. This tragedy is a vocal call to our nation to intensify gun control in order to protect the lives of women and children.”
Xingwana further highlighted that a successful war against gender-based violence was dependent on the partnership between government and various sectors of society, including the media.
She said as government, they believed that the unacceptably high levels of gender-based violence require the collective efforts of all South Africans.
“We must therefore mobilize all members of the community to also join in this effort. When we know that someone is being abused in our own home or in our neighbour’s house, we have a duty to report it. We also have a duty to stand in court as witnesses to make sure that these abusers are prosecuted successfully,” Xingwana said. – SAnews.gov.za