The scourge of violence against women and children took centre stage in the city yesterday, as more than 100 people from various social organisations, civil organisations and the government took part in the #100MenMarch.
This also formed part of the centenary celebrations of President Nelson Mandela and Struggle stalwart Albertina Sisulu.
The march, organised by Government Communication and Information Systems (GCIS), included members of the clergy, Deputy Minister of Police, Bongani Mkongi, and Mayor Patricia de Lille.
Geraldine Thopps, acting Chief Director of GCIS, said: “One of the main reasons [we] started this is because of the celebration of Mandela’s centenary, of Mama Sisulu and the challenge of violence against women and children.
“It was time to take a stand and pull together all of the different sector departments, national and provincial, with the City of Cape Town.”
Provincial Justice head Hishaam Mohamed said statistics on domestic violence were high in the province: “We have been called and inspired by President Ramaphosa who said Thuma Mina (Send Me), and we have to help society end the violence. As men, what happens in the four corners of our home we have the responsibility to ensure that no violence takes place there.
“The Western Cape has the highest number of domestic violence cases in the entire country. In the last count we have just finalised 7 000 out of 40 000 cases in our court rolls.
“That says something about our society; many think the major factor that is killing children is gangsterism, [but] the facts and figures show it’s domestic violence.”
Mkongi told police not to “ask nonsense when women report rape and ask questions about what they were wearing at the time or what made the suspect rape you. Your job and responsibility is to protect the victim by taking the report seriously. Write up the case and go and defend the women.”
De Lille said icons Mandela and Sisulu must be turning in their graves with the “disgrace that is happening in our country where women and children are senselessly murdered by cowards”.
“Twenty-four-years ago, right here in Parliament, our dear Tata Madiba delivered his State of the Nation Address in which he said that ‘Freedom cannot be achieved unless the women have been emancipated from all forms of oppression’.
“South Africa is still experiencing high levels of abuse and the killing of women and children, and this is in an indictment on our society ”
Speaking on behalf of the Police Forum Provincial Board, Lucinda Evans acknowledged all the men that were against violence and called for them to “walk the talk”.
“My plea today is that we start with the men that are hurting, as they are hurting children and women. We need to open up spaces for men that need support. Counselling and protection services Let this walk become action, so men go back to other men and tell them enough is enough.”