David Mabuza kick-starts 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children
Pretoria - Deputy President David Mabuza yesterday appealed to the nation to rally behind the national efforts and programmes to empower, protect and promote the advancement and development of women and children.
He was addressing the official ceremony at the Union Buildings to kickstart the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign, and remembering victims of gender-based violence (GBV) and Covid-19.
Yesterday was also the first of five days of mourning for the victims.
The national flag at the Union Buildings will be flown at half-mast for five days. Citizens are urged to dress in black as a sign of solidarity.
Mabuza said while the country was still grappling with the “dark cloud” of the pandemic, there was also the dire need to address the pain of GBV and femicide which was cutting into the core foundations of the national consciousness. He said the commitment towards the renewal of the nation’s soul was imperative as no nation could emerge from the ruins and destruction of its own women and children at the hands of men. For this to happen it required the entire nation to rise and mobilise every street, every community, church and family to join the fight against the murder and violation of women and children.
“The twin epidemics of Covid-19 and gender-based violence and femicide engulf our nation on an unprecedented scale; we have to work together to fight these pandemics so that we inspire hope and galvanise the nation towards a common vision of unity, cohesion and shared prosperity,” Mabuza said.
“Our response to gender-based violence and femicide must be emphatic and uncompromising with a commitment from government, civil society formations and all other social partners to work together towards a sustained programme of action to curb the scourge.”
With this year’s theme “Women’s economic justice for a non-violent and non-sexist South Africa”, he said it was important that concrete and tangible progress towards the end of violence against women and children be made.
This must not be restricted to simply being an annual ritual in the country’s calendar of events. “In a democratic and human rights-centred country like ours, patriarchy cannot be used as a cultural basis for the oppression of women.”
DA party leader John Steenhuisen said they recognised that tackling gender-based violence required a comprehensive approach including victim support and empowerment programmes, and violence prevention initiatives. He said it was also crucial there were education and public awareness campaigns to bring about behavioural change.