Gender based violence is stalling women’s progress
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DURBAN - THE KwaZulu-Natal Legislature is looking to build a formidable relationship with the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s College of Law to help it make impactful laws.
This was according to Legislature Speaker Nontembeko Boyce, who on Tuesday participated in the final day of a virtual webinar hosted by UKZN, with the theme “Eradicating gender-based violence (GBV) and harassment: are we doing enough?”
She pointed out that GBV was among the issues hindering women's progressing in South Africa.
“As we meet here with you we will be learning, but we also be guided because we are also responsible for the legislative framework in the province. It will be a consultation that will help us have impact-based law-making as we deliver quality services to the people.”
Boyce said that in the spirit of public engagement, the legislature strove to make itself available to engage with every sector of society on issues of provincial and national importance.
“Since the dawn of democracy, South Africa has tried to fight through the enactment of progressive laws for at least arriving at acceptable gender equality, because we as South Africa have a society that is gender unequal, and we have discrimination that leads to the abuse and killing of women, such as we see currently through GBV.”
She said the Women’s Charter and Constitution both spoke to social justice, and that GBV was not only a crime, but a social injustice.
“It is for these reasons that South Africa over the years has had progressive laws that sought to protect citizens, especially the vulnerable.”
Boyce said South Africa had been ranked among the countries that were the most unsafe for women.
“South Africa remains unsafe for women. The role of the state in protecting citizens from each other has been compromised. Women and girls are being abused, raped and killed in South Africa every day at the hands of men. More worrying is that KZN is leading when it comes to shameful GBV, with Inanda police having the highest number of rape cases in South Africa.”
Professor Managay Reddi, the Dean of UKZN’s School of Law, said that when national Women’s Day was celebrated for the first time in South Africa in 1995, women all over the country were delighted at what they imagined the celebration would herald.
“We anticipated that by being recognised, our position as perpetual second-class human beings and all the roles that the status inflicted on us would change. We expected that the respect for our womanhood would grow, and the violence visited upon our bodies would abate, and that we could finally enjoy the right to self-determination. We celebrated that day deliriously. The celebration of women by awarding one day in a year has done little to change the quality of most women’s lives in South Africa when it comes to our experience of violence.”
Director of Legal at the Department of Justice, Asiya Khan, spoke about protection orders and made it clear that they could run parallel with a criminal case.
“Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t open a case because you have a protection order.”