Anti-GBV activists and supporters march in Grahamstown. Photo: ANA

GRAHAMSTOWN - Too many perpetrators of gender-based violence (GBV) crimes are walking free, according to United Nations Women executive director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

Mlambo-Ngcuka was speaking via a video link in a message of support at the launch of the Uyinene Mrwetyana Foundation (UMF) in Grahanstown in the Eastern Cape on Friday.

She said people posing a danger to women should be removed from society. 

"The institutions that are responsible for prosecuting crimes against women have to jack-up. When these institutions work effectively, perpetrators will have something to be afraid of," said Mlambo-Ngcuka.

She called for a coordinated multi-stakeholder approach, which would include police, prosecutors, gender violence activists supporting the survivors, and the health department to work together in a formalised manner. 

Mlambo-Ngcuka said there was also a need for societal behaviour change. "We also need to change the norms and behaviour in society, especially the norms and behaviour of men and boys," she said.

The brutal murder of Uyinene Mrwetyana could have been prevented, because the perpetrator, Luyanda Botha, was known for his criminal record. 

Botha, a former South African Post Office employee, confessed to raping and bludgeoning to death the 19-year-old University of Cape Town student on August 24, 2019 at the Clarenreich Post Office in Cape Town. Uyinene had gone to collect a parcel at the post office when she was attacked by Botha.

He is now serving three life imprisonment sentences. Uyinene's mother Nomangwane Mrwetyana said at the launch that the family appreciated the swift police action, although they were not fully satisfied with the sentence, but it was what the State saw fit according to the law. 

"We are thankful for the swift action, such as the conviction and sentencing of the perpetrator. Though it does not bring back what we've lost, it enables us to move forward from mourning to celebrating her life and continue the fight against gender-based violence," she told the African News Agency (ANA).

Nomangwane also offered her condolences to the family of 21-year-old Limpopo student Precious Ramabulana, who was recently raped and killed. Ramabulana, a student at Capricorn TVET College's Ramokgopa Campus, was found stabbed to death in her off-campus residence.

Other messages of support for the UMF came from the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle, Springbok rugby wing Makazole Mapimpi, and assistant coach Mzwandile Stick.

African News Agency