President Cyril Ramaphosa says the violent war being waged on women in South Africa has left society lamenting, rather than sparking outrage. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency
Cape Town - President Cyril Ramaphosa says the violent war being waged on women in South Africa has left society lamenting, rather than sparking outrage.

"Men should hang their heads in shame," he said, addressing the official Women’s Day celebrations in Mbekweni, near Paarl, on Women's Day.

He also announced that the government will host a national gender summit on August 31, details of which are still to be released.

“There is an admission that all of us men have to make. In towns small and large, in cities, homes, schools, colleges, universities, parks and open spaces, a war is being waged in South Africa on women's right to security and equality.

"It is an affront to our common humanity The assault on our women has reached unprecedented levels,” Ramaphosa said.

“We have seen that there is little outrage at these brutal acts of violence. There is more lamentation than outrage. And society is largely becoming accustomed to this.

"We need to raise awareness and encourage women to raise their voices,” Ramaphosa said.

He recently accepted a memorandum of grievances from the #TotalShutDown protesters at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

“There I heard of reports that a police officer slapped a woman, while another verbally abused one of the female protesters. I have asked the police minister to investigate these incidents.

"Violence against women is a societal problem. We need to start focusing on how we raise boys, and look at the psyche of men who commit these crimes,” he added.

On land reform, Ramaphosa said: “We need to ensure that land reform favours women and benefits women who can work the land, and in terms of housing and agriculture. And to get them out of poverty.”

A group of protesters carried posters calling for a moratorium on farm evictions. Ramaphosa acknowledged them. Other senior ANC leaders addressed them.

ANC Women’s League Struggle Veteran Sophie de Bruyn said women today face an uphill struggle. De Bruyn is the last living leader of the iconic Women’s March on August 9, 1956 to the Union Buildings.

“I'm saddened at the situation faced by women. We did not struggle for perpetrators to walk freely. We fought for a just and equal society,” she said.

In KwaZulu-Natal, EFF leader Julius Malema said the ANC has women abusers in their ranks, referring to disgraced former deputy minister of higher education and training Mduduzi Manana.

The DA Women’s Network leader and Western Cape health MEC Dr Nomafrench Mbombo said women were the victims of the ANC’s corruption. Women bear the brunt of the humanitarian crisis of unemployment caused by an ANC government enriching themselves."

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Cape Argus