South Africans urged to join in creating safe and secure environment for women
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Cape Town - The Cabinet has called on all South Africans to join hands in creating a safe and secure environment for women in the country.
Addressing the media on the outcomes of the Cabinet meeting on Thursday, Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele said the Cabinet expressed its deepest condolences to all families and friends of the women who were gruesomely murdered recently. Gungubele said these included Nosicelo Mtebeni, Palesa Maruping, Pheliswa “Dolly” Sawutana, and many other innocent women, who may not have been reported by the media.
He said the heinous crimes were committed against the women during the commemoration of Women’s Month, which was the month to celebrate the strides made in bridging the gender inequalities in our society.
“These crimes have reminded all of us that gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) remains the biggest challenge facing the country. It requires all of us to work harder to strengthen the protection of women,” said Gungubele.
Gungubele said the Cabinet has called on law-enforcement agencies, to ensure justice was served for these women and their families.
He told the media that the government has allocated at least R21 billion to drive the implementation of the national strategic plan on GBVF, to put an end to the scourge.
“A number of interventions have been put in place to strengthen our criminal justice system. These include increasing dedicated regional courts to deal with sexual offences, strengthening our sexual offences laws, and equipping our police officers with the requisite skills to deal effectively with such offences,” he said.
A number of government buildings have been converted to create more shelters for women in distress, he said.
People wanting to obtain assistance and counselling on GBVF matters should call the GBV command centre on 0800 428 428 (0800 GBV GBV).
They can also request a social worker from the command centre to contact them by dialling *120*7867# (free) from any cell phone.
Meanwhile, Gungubele said the Cabinet welcomed the arrest of seven suspects, in connection with the recent murder of Gauteng Health Department chief financial officer Babita Deokaran.
“Ms Deokaran was a dedicated public servant, who stood firmly against corruption and was a key witness in a Special Investigating Unit investigation into the fraudulent procurement of personal protective equipment and other illegal activities in the department,” said Gungubele.
He said the Cabinet reiterated that whistle-blowers were important guardians of our democracy and clean governance, and urged people to continue exposing and reporting corruption and malfeasance, without fear or favour.
The Cabinet has also sent condolences to the family and friends of former defence and military veterans deputy minister Kebby Maphatsoe.
Maphatsoe, who was an MP and former national chairperson of the uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association, died on Tuesday.
“He dedicated his life to the development of this country,” said Gungubele.
He also said the Cabinet sent its heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of veteran singer and The Mahotella Queens original member Nobesuthu Mbadu, 76, who died at Thelle Mogoerane Regional Hospital, in Vosloorus.