’This has been a dark and brutal Women’s Month’
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Pretoria - Government has strongly condemned the recent “senseless and gruesome” murders of young women in different parts of South Africa.
The slain women include University of Fort Hare law student Nosicelo Mtebeni, 23, whose dismembered body was discovered dumped in a suitcase in Quigney, East London; Palesa Maruping, 29, who was found hanging from the ceiling of a house in Khuma location near Stilfontein in North West; and Pheliswa “Dolly” Sawutana, 32, who was strangled to death with shoelaces in Kosovo informal settlement in Cape Town.
Government spokesperson Phumla Williams this year’s Women’s Month has been marred by the brutal killing of women.
“This has been a dark and brutal Women’s Month, marred by the brutal violence against women. Whilst we continue our efforts to defeat the Covid-19 pandemic, GBVF [gender-based violence and femicide] is rearing its abominable head as the second pandemic that is destroying the fabric of our society,” she said.
“Whilst the call for justice to be served for these women is key, we also call on responsible men to lead the fight against GBVF in our communities.”
She said the government continues to drive the implementation of the pillars of the National Strategic Plan (NSP) on GBVF, which seeks to end the scourge.
“It [government] has allocated over R21 billion over the next three years to support the six pillars of the NSP. Since the launch of the NSP last year, 32 regional courts have been designated as sexual offences courts in various parts of the country and about 3 500 investigating officers received specialised training on family violence, child protection and sexual crimes,” she said.
Twelve public buildings have since been renovated and repurposed to be used as shelters and police stations have been capacitated with sexual assault evidence kits.
“Importantly, legislation currently before Parliament seeks to tighten cases related to domestic violence issues, such as denying offenders bail and sentencing them to long prison terms. The country’s judicial system has handed down harsh penalties and sentences to those found guilty of GBVF,” said Williams.
“As peace-loving and law-abiding South Africans, we must all – individually and collectively – contribute to the safety and well-being of women in our country. The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996 affirms the right to life and safety for all people.”
She said it is the responsibility of everyone in South Africa to support and help create a non-violent environment for all women.
“We need to prevent and stop the violation of women’s rights. Law-enforcement agencies and the criminal justice system alone cannot stop these senseless murders,” said Williams.
“Let us all create the change we want to see, and men have the duty to lead the fight by respecting and accepting decisions made by women, irrespective of tradition, culture and institutional settings. The power is in our hands to empower women.”
She said government departments continue to ensure financial inclusion of women through their procurement plans.
To obtain assistance and counselling on GBVF matters, community members are encouraged to call the GBV command centre on: 0800 428 428.
Callers can also request a social worker from the command centre to contact them by dialling *120*7867# free of charge from any cell phone.
African News Agency (ANA)