Tshegofatso Pule, left, was eight months' pregnant when she was killed. The lover of Naledi Phangindawo, right, was officially charged with her murder. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)
Tshegofatso Pule, left, was eight months' pregnant when she was killed. The lover of Naledi Phangindawo, right, was officially charged with her murder. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Minister of Women says South Africa is in a crisis with gender-based violence on the rise

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Jun 15, 2020

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Johannesburg - Minister of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities Maite Nkoana-Mashabane says the country is in a crisis and swift action must be taken to end the surge of gender-based violence cases.

Nkoana-Mashabane said she was concerned about the rise in gender-based violence cases. 

Last week, Soweto resident Tshego Pule was buried after she was found hanging from a tree while nine months pregnant. Over the weekend police recovered the body of a Pretoria-based woman after she was allegedly stabbed to death by her boyfriend. In both cases, the suspects have not been arrested.

Nkoana-Mashabane said the fight against gender-based violence cannot be done by the government only and that community support and efforts were needed.

“As the government, we recognise and acknowledge that we cannot do this alone. This is a societal problem that needs all of us to rally all our efforts and resources collectively and confront this enemy head-on,” said Nkoana-Mashabane.

"Government acknowledges the crisis with regards to GBVF and condemn the current brutal killing of innocent women and children. We want a society where women, children and other vulnerable groups can live freely, without fear of either being abused or killed. We reconfirm our commitment to fighting the scourge of GBVF with more vigour," the minister said.

The minister's office said these were the following steps that can be taken by gender-based violence victims; 

  • Have a friend or relative that you can call on should you need help;
  • Create a code for whoever your safe person is so that they know you are in danger;
  • Share the code with your children;
  • You could also share a sign with your neighbours that you will use to indicate to them that you need help;
  • Have emergency numbers available; i.e. SAPS, local NGO, Call Command Centre;
  • When you escape, leave at the safest time, e.g. when the abuser is asleep, or make an excuse to go out;
  • Go to a safe place like a family member’s house, a local NGO, SAPS, etc.

"We urge communities to work with the police and report any tip-offs they may have to the Crime Stop Hotline on 08600 10111 or send an anonymous SMS to Crime Line at 32211, or to call the Gender-Based Violence Command Centre at 0800 428 428."

Nkoane-Mashabane said the government was continuing with its national strategic plan which is supposed to partner with civil society in ending gender-based violence.

The department has also urged municipalities to keep track of cases  in the following manner:

  • To daily record number of calls to all helplines (police, GBV command, clinics, Lifeline and local CPF) you have received and indicate what were they for 
  • To track the call referral and action/status
  • Record number of Protection Orders issued and
  • Report on the number of the cases that went to court.

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