Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, says the country – especially men – need to take accountability for the gender based violence and femicide “pandemic” currently plaguing South Africa.
She was speaking at the launch of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children Campaign in Soweto on Thursday.
The International community is commemorating the 16 Days campaign for the 30th year, this year.
The Minister lamented the physical insecurity that women find themselves living in.
“Gender based violence and femicide remains the second pandemic of our country and most of our communities have witnessed the devastating impacts of this pandemic. Our country, our women, our children are not safe, don’t feel safe.
"We need to take ... accountability and ... responsibility for our own actions. We should not look away. Let's all make sure that GBV is history,” she said.
Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said South Africa should be observing or commemorating days of no violence throughout the entire year.
“The 16 Days [campaign] is commemorated throughout the world until the 10th of December. Ours is 365 days because women of this country have long said enough is enough. This year we say…16 Days of Activism should move from awareness to accountability,” she said.
The Minister said the National Strategic Plan on Gender Based Violence and Femicide is one step that government has taken to curb the scourge with changes in law and policy the other.
She added that all parts of society have a role to play in fighting Gender Based Violence and Femicide.
“We have underscored the realization that a violence free South Africa requires stakeholders including society, business, religious and traditional sectors, development agencies and all of us,” she said.
Nkoana-Mashabane highlighted that economic emancipation is also imperative to fighting financial abuse of women and that government is making strides in ensuring that women are given the opportunity to find this economic freedom.
“This year we launched the Women’s Economic Assembly by the President [Cyril Ramaphosa] which is a platform to mobilise the private sector to partner with government to enable women owned enterprises to participate in procurement opportunities within industry and supply chains.
“Women don’t kill themselves. If they were given economic means, they would do the best they can do…serve the nation,” she said. – SAnews.gov.za