Shock at murder of pregnant Joburg woman Tshegofatso Pule
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PRETORIA - South Africa's minister for women, youth and disabled people Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said on Tuesday she was shocked at the murder of Johannesburg woman Tshegofatso Pule whose stabbed body was found hanging from a tree this week.
Pule was eight months pregnant, and her murder is the latest in a series of violent attacks against women which have rocked South Africa in recent months.
“This is just saddening, and is a shame on our society," Nkoana-Mashabane said.
"We should never allow gender-based violence to become a norm in our communities. How many more women, young girls and children must live with this constant fear of being attacked and violated? Women should not have to protect themselves from men. They have the right to feel safe."
Pule’s body was found close to Florida Lake in Roodepoort, in the Gauteng province's West Rand area.
She was reportedly last seen alive while getting into a cab which her boyfriend had summoned for her on Thursday.
The incident follows the recent murder of Naledi Phangindawo, allegedly by her boyfriend.
The ministry for women, youth and persons with disabilities said the continued brutal killing of women and children, often by their loved ones, was "despicable and deplorable”.
“This calls for heightened responsiveness, greater awareness and practical measures to assist women who find themselves in vulnerable situations,” it said.
As part of the South African government’s efforts to fight the scourge of gender-based violence, its inter-ministerial committee on gender-based violence and femicide held its second virtual meeting on Thursday to discuss the establishment of a National Council for Gender Based Violence and Femicide.
The committee comprises the ministers of women, youth and persons with disabilities, police, finance, justice and correctional services, social development, public service and administration.
Nkoana-Mashabane said the government would leave no stone unturned in its efforts bring justice for women.
“Government will do everything possible to ensure justice is served and calls upon men in our society to stand up against GBV (gender-based violence," she said.
"Violence against women and children is unacceptable and we should not allow vile tendencies to continue during such a difficult time for the country, or ever,” she added, alluding to the Covid-19 pandemic.
She also called for swift action by police to ensure that perpetrators were arrested, and for the department of justice and correctional services to ensure that those convicted of gender-based violence were shown no leniency.