Exxaro's employees march against gender-based violence at Centurion. Picture: Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency (ANA)

Pretoria - Corporate South Africa shares society’s responsibility to make sure women and children feel safe, secure, respected and valued.

This was the sentiment of over 300 men and women who yesterday left the comfort of the offices of mining company Exxaro and took to the streets of Centurion to march against child abuse and gender-based violence.

They wanted to help spread a positive message and create awareness about gender-based violence during this ongoing 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children.

Centurion residents and motorists cheered as they witnessed the wave of vibrant corporate workers singing and waving flags, bearing placards with their messages in the streets.

They were escorted by the metro police and medical emergency backup personnel as they marched from the Exxaro head office opposite the Centurion Gautrain Station and back.

Men who work at Exxaro led the march, carrying a big white flag written in Exxaro’s popular green: “I pledge to take a stand against gender-based violence.” 

Some of them held placards that read “no means no”.

Exxaro said they were challenging other companies operating in the City of Tshwane and anywhere in South Africa to join them and also take a firm stand against the problem confronting society.

The company’s executive head of stakeholder affairs, Mzila Mthejane, said: “For us as Exxaro we support this 16 Days of Activism campaign. It is something that is aligned to the purpose of Exxaro, which stands for powering better lives.

“We are today indicating our awareness and the plight for those women and children who are being abused. We are sending a message to the men all around the country to say we need to recalibrate ourselves. We need to stop and think of the role we play as men in society and in our homes and community. We really need to be that pillar that women and children can rely on.”

As the men who work for Exxaro were signing a pledge to be erected in their office, Mthejane said the boundary between what happens in the workplace and what happens at home is very thin. 

He said that therefore meant the campaign not only be home based, but one taken to heart by people in corporate spaces because they have homes, partners and children.

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Pretoria News