Cyril Ramaphosa
THE #TotalShutDown movement is breathing down President Cyril Ramaphosa’s neck, accusing him of failing to pay enough attention to gender-based violence.

Six months after the movement led a march to the Union Buildings demanding action in addressing the issue, it claims the president has not done anything.

In August, thousands of women marched to the Union Buildings, Parliament in Cape Town, the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein and other key places throughout the country to bring attention to the abuse of women and children.

“To date, the Presidency and government have failed to give this matter the kind of attention it warrants. This is while women continue to die at the rate of one every three hours,” the movement said in an open letter to Ramaphosa.

“The rape of women and children under the age of nine continues to dominate headlines and social media narratives every single day.

“How long must women continue to die, be raped and be publicly beaten before this government acts in a co- ordinated and decisive manner that ensures women’s constitutional rights to safety in this Republic of South Africa?”

Despite the Gender-based Violence and Femicide Summit held in November - which came about as a result of these demands - the movement said half of its demands remained unmet.

“In addition to the declaration from the summit held in November, a declaration is yet to be signed, let alone the related work begun, while 14 of the 24 demands remain unmet."

The organisation urged Ramaphosa to put a plan into action in his State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Thursday.

“As the nation anticipates the upcoming Sona 2019, women of this country demand action instead of another speech by the president and government of South Africa.

“We demand tangible outcomes and real action in the form of budget allocations, competent appointments in addressing this crisis, a declaration of a state of emergency on violence against women and gender non-conforming persons, immediate appointing and resourcing of an interim structure as agreed upon at the summit, and overall prioritisation of a woman’s right to safety,” the letter stated.

The Presidency said it would respond to the letter.