The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign kicked off on Saturday as recent crime stats revealed that from July to September this year, 1 514 incidents of attempted murder were committed against women.
During the same period 14 401 females were assaulted and 293 children were killed. This year marks the 25th anniversary since South Africa initiated the campaign. The theme is “Accelerating actions to end gender-based violence and femicide: leaving no one behind” with a sub-theme “Safe access for women to clean water: a basic human right”.
Childline KwaZulu-Natal acting director Adeshini Naicker said while the idea behind the campaign was brilliant, the country needed to ask if it was actually impactful.
“Are the numbers dropping? On the surface it does not seem that way.
The mindset needs to change to a 365 days a year campaign. Programmes that are implemented need to be sustainable throughout the year for us to see a change,” Naicker said, adding that processes needed to be reviewed and a streamlined collaboration among service providers needed to be ensured.
National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) general secretary Zola Saphetha said the scourge of gender-based violence and femicide(GBVF) against women and children continued to persist.
“The recently released statistics on crime by the SAPS point to a country that remains a deeply violent society and that we still have a long way to go before the goal of eliminating and ending GBVF in our society. This requires that we all place more effort in ensuring that GBVF is prevented and eliminated in our society,” he said.
The union called on the government and law enforcement agencies to intensify the fight against the scourge using the National Strategic Plan on GBVF to tackle all forms of violence and abuse of women and children.
Rosebank College said GBVF continues to be a grave and widespread problem in South Africa, with attacks against vulnerable communities continuing despite decades-long campaigns.
The college said it was time for all South Africans, particularly students and young people, to step up and take a stand.
“As students, we are uniquely positioned to drive change. By uniting in this cause, educating ourselves and others, advocating for policy reforms, supporting survivors, mobilising our communities, and engaging men and boys, we can help build a safer and more equitable society. Together, we can bring about lasting change,” it said.
The college said students hold a unique position in shaping the future of the country.
Commission for Gender Equality spokesperson Javu Baloyi emphasised that the commission's constitutional mandate involves holding both the public and private sectors responsible for addressing gender-based violence and inequalities.
Baloyi further highlighted that access to clean water is recognised as a fundamental human right in Chapter 2 of the Bill of Rights.
“The lack of provision of clean water perpetuates the cycle of poverty and hardship for rural women, upon whose shoulders the responsibility of healthy families lies,” he said.