Activist against women abuse staged a silent protest while President Cyril Ramaphosa was giving his keynote address at the gender based violence and femicide summit in Pretoria. Photo: Brenda Masilela / ANA

DURBAN - THE two-day national Gender-based Violence and Femicide Summit happening in Joburg has opened wounds for the families of victims who were allegedly killed by their intimate partners.

Mabongi Myeni, the cousin of Zolile Khumalo - a Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) student who was killed in April allegedly by her boyfriend, Thabani Mzolo said the summit brought back the pain of losing Zolile.

“This comes at a time when we as the family are trying to deal with her death. It is still painful and it will always be for us. It’s difficult for her parents because when she went to study they hoped that she will come back to help the family. But instead she came back in a coffin,” she said.

Myeni said she hoped the summit would yield positive results to curb the culture of killing of women in South Africa. She said they wanted to see her killer being thrown in jail. Khumalo was a first-year quantity surveying student at the time of her death.  

Mzolo is set to go on trial in March next year for her death, but Mzolo will be back in court on November 13 to confirm the services of his new legal representative. 

Nompumelelo Mthembu, 28, from Nongoma, was brutally killed in May allegedly by her boyfriend, Siyabonga Buthelezi.

It is alleged Buthelezi had inserted a knobkerrie in Mthembu’s vagina. He was arrested and later released on bail.

When he was out on bail, he allegedly stoned and doused Mthembu with petrol and set her alight. She died in hospital.  

Commenting on the femicide summit, Mthembu’s grandmother, Mavis KaMalinga-Sithole said: “I felt like she just died. When I hear stories of women who had been killed by their partners, the first person I think of is my granddaughter who died in a harrowing manner.”

While she supported the summit, KaMalinga-Sithole said, “there should be less time for talking but more doing”.

“I can tell you that as the summit is underway there are women who are being killed. Focus should be placed on arresting the people who kill vulnerable women and they must be thrown in jail for life,” said KaMalinga-Sithole.

The summit was held on the back of the #TotalShutdown movement during August, where women across the country marched to highlight their plight. South Africa has been rocked by sad tales of women being killed at the hands of their intimate partners. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa told the delegates that government was conducting a review of the national plan against gender-based violence and was constructing a revised plan against gender-based violence to be released next year.

Sunday Tribune