GBV victims’ families ‘wait for apology' from President Ramaphosa
This is according to One Billion Rising SA campaign co-ordinator Lucinda Evans, speaking at the organisation's V-Day campaign over the weekend.
The Cape Town activists joined the global campaign to highlight the plight of abused women and children with self-defence demonstrations to 150 women at Lavender Hill.
Evans said that the SONA did not reflect the state of women in the country, adding it meant nothing to the families of women and children who had died at the hands of perpetrators.
“Last year he said there would be no parolees that would come out, and perpetrators of violent crimes would not get bail. However, a parolee came out in December and killed Michaela Williams. Clarissa Lindoor was killed by her partner, who was out on bail,” she said.
Evans said the president was not invested in the protection of women in this country.
During his Sona, Ramaphosa highlighted plans the government had implemented, and those he expected to execute in the future, to curb violence against women.
“Over the last six months, the nation has been galvanised - across communities, government, civil society, religious groupings, the judiciary and Parliament - to end the crisis of violence perpetrated by men against women. But it is only the beginning of the struggle,” he said.
“We implemented an emergency action plan and re-prioritised R1.6 billion to support this plan until the end of the current financial year,” he added.
The president said the government would be amending various acts to help solve some of the problems.
“We will amend the Domestic Violence Act to better protect victims in violent domestic relationships and the Sexual Offences Act to broaden the categories of sex offenders, whose names must be included in the National Register for Sex Offenders, and we will pass a law to tighten bail and sentencing conditions in cases that involve gender-based violence.”
“This means absolutely nothing to us, and the parents of Jesse Hess, Michaela Williams and Tazne van Wyk,” said Evans.
“Where do we see this money rolled out, to whom, and what are the services?” she asked.
Evans said they were waiting for the president's apology and personal visits to the families of those who were slain by the parolees.
The provincial police supported the campaign.
Western Cape Police Commissioner Yolisa Matakata said: “We have a serious responsibility to ensure that if a person comes as a victim to our centres, we really have empathy and understanding. But also the kind of quality service that we offer at any point in time is critical.”@Mtuzeli