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The president takes on gender-based violence

In the last few weeks, 21 women and children have been murdered.
President Cyril Ramaphosa is appalled at ‘what is no less than a war’ being waged against women and children in South Africa. Image: Jairus Mmutle, GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa did not exactly say South Africa is going into therapy, but his utterances on gender-based violence (GBV) and alcohol abuse amounted to an intervention.

Wednesday night’s speech was supposed to mark the 100th day of the Covid-19 lockdown, but the president spent almost half of the address on what the state will be doing to tackle issues regarding violence against women and children and the role alcohol plays in it.

Ramaphosa did not mince words on the scale of the problem.

“It is with the heaviest of hearts that I stand before the women and girls of South Africa this evening to talk about another pandemic that is raging in our country – the killing of women and children by the men of our country.

“As a man, as a husband and as a father, I am appalled at what is no less than a war being waged against the women and children of our country.”

He said the reprieve in violence against women brought by the lockdown has not lasted and it was especially disappointing that the violence increased when the ban on alcohol sales was lifted.

“It is deeply disturbing that the spike in crimes against women and children has coincided with the easing of the coronavirus lockdown. According to the police, violent crime – especially murders and attempted murders – has increased since alert level 3 took effect on June 1.”

In the last few weeks, 21 women and children have been murdered.

They were as young as six and as old as 89.

He then went on to name some of them: Naledi Phangindawo, Nompumelelo Tshaka, Nomfazi Gabada, Nwabisa Mgwandela, Altecia Kortjie, six-year-old Raynecia Kotjie, Lindelwa Peni and Tshegofatso Pule along with her unborn daughter who had already been given a name.

Slow steps forward

The state has made some progress since a R1.6 billion emergency response plan to combat gender-based violence and femicide was announced in parliament in September last year. Since then, survivors of gender-based violence have had access to support and services, including the GBV hotline, shelters and centres providing support to victims of sexual violence.

Since December, 10 government-owned buildings have been handed over to the Department of Social Development to be used as shelters.

There are now over 1 000 survivor-friendly rooms at police stations.

Police, prosecutors, magistrates and policymakers have undergone sensitivity and awareness training, and more than 3 000 government employees have been checked against the National Register of Sex Offenders.

Aside from supporting the victims, tackling the perpetrators of this kind of violence is also on the agenda.

Ramaphosa urged lawmakers to amend legislation on minimum sentencing in cases of gender-based violence, bail conditions for suspects, and greater protection for women.

He also pointed out that although alcohol played a part, it is South African men who are ultimately responsible. “Of course, it is not alcohol that rapes or kills a woman or a child. Rather, it is the actions of violent men.”

But it’s not just men. It’s society as a whole that allows these men to get away with this type of violence.

End the silence

“These perpetrators are known to us and our communities. By looking away, by discouraging victims from laying charges, by shaming women for their lifestyle choices or their style of dress, we become complicit in these crimes.

“I once again call on every single South African listening this evening to consider the consequence of their silence.”

Asking people to drink less and to support the laying of charges might not sound like much of an intervention – but it can play an outsized role as it will reduce the space these perpetrators operate in.

These types of men are always trying to press what they can get away with. If everyone had too many drinks, for example, who can be certain of what actually happened? If they can get friends and family to talk someone out of not pressing charges, there is no formal record to track their abuse.

Creating reasonable doubt and fostering peer pressure is part of their plan.

I know guys like these.

They are always looking for grey areas and constantly building social capital to justify their bad behaviour. “I’m a good guy but … ”

They are abusers first and husbands, brothers, friends second. They might not murder a woman, but they will hurt them in as many ways as they possibly can.

It’s time we take away the space they operate in and call them out if we are serious about ending violence against women.

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It’s a small crack and a tiny step but at least there is the beginning of the realization that we have an element in society, that has no conscience and will kill for a cell phone and sleep comfortably at night. By the norms of the civilized world this is barbaric but you cannot begin to address something until you acknowledge it exists.

“By the norms of the civilized world this is barbaric but you cannot begin to address something until you acknowledge it exists.”
You make the assumption that this is a South African phenomena – Gender based violence is global pandemic committed by bullies not barbarians. The sad truth is that this stems from husbands beating their wives, an act passed down from father to son as it is often committed in full view of the children. Some who grow to scorn this very act however some grow up to commit the same deed. Gender based violence happens all over the world and has grown to pandemic levels largely for three reasons, community silence, ineffective justice systems and lack of political will to recognize that the fairer sex are as a minimum requirement are entitled to same rights as their bullying male counterparts.
Before we make assumptions, I am male who has never lifted my hands to my wife nearly 30 years of marriage for no other reason than I was brought up respect the other sex an example I learnt from my mother who even though my father beat the living hell out of her and then blamed it on the booze. Most of these offenders if not all, are such cowards that they cannot even man-up to own their fault with out blaming somebody or something else for their actions.

Gender based violence is unacceptable, we all agree, so too are the killing of farmers, the raping of their wives and tormenting of the children, and sadly only the minority agree

Some of these incidents don’t even reach the mainstream media, but as soon as CR addresses gender based violence mostly in part amongst the masses, it’s becomes headline news!

Imagine if farm murders were given just a small mention by this Politician how the opinion toward him man and his corrupt useless party would change!

But we all know what their agenda is..

“Live and let live” is not part of it

Seve I am not in anyway the barbaric murder of farmers or anybody else come to that, this conversation is about Gender-based violence a practice deemed acceptable for centuries any all cultures. It is not a race thing nor an ethnic, nor a religious thing it is simply a gender thing so if you choose comment at least keep it to topic and not deviate away from this topic. This is one of the reasons why we cannot find solutions for this problem because we it is easier to look away, or focus on something else or just a blind eye and simply “it is not my problem, and what can I do about it?”
Simply put, we need to stand an make such a noise that the perpetrators can no long hide way.

Jump123, have you seen some of the farmers wives after the attacker is done with them…………..obviously not.

Jump123 violence is violence there is NO distinction.

Please don’t come with this moral high ground of sticking with the topic. Have you ever witnessed or seen what a farmers wife looks like after being attacked by a gang of murdering thieves? Raped, burnt with an iron, then gruesomely tortured and killed or otherwise left to die?

Is that not enough evidence of gender based violence or is it because it’s a farmers wife that you too feel it needs no mention but should be a topic for another day?

It’s people like you who do not grasp the effect of Governments denial on the topic! Is that not enough for CR to mention it on State Television?

“Solution for the problem” you say? Oh do tell , a solution for what, where when the very leader of your country denies farm attacks, how do you suppose this Government will address any issues when they don’t even pay UIF to the very people who need it?

pwgg it took me a while to answer you reply and not because I haven’t seen some of the farmers wives after the attacker is done with them, but because I have and it sickens me to the bone that somebody could be so cruel. BTW our family will never get past that either.
The problem here is not just a flawed justice system that is incapable of bringing justice to the victims, their families and society at large nor is it government’s inability to deal with crime and criminals because it may fly in the face of the political policies and agendas and perhaps even cost them votes on election day. The problem is that our society globally has bred violence over centuries and specifically against the weak and the vulnerable to such a point that we now have entire movements who defend the offenders and give the rights over the rights of the victims. I call this dilemma as I see it, I have no reason to try and be a populist but the truth is, we didn’t just get here and there really is A great need for a reset on many fronts as this problem gets progressively worse. The recent (although unrelated incidents in USA will show) the riots in the USA and Europe become more a part of the ongoing madness that comes from violence. Almost every comment here is against Gender violence and any other form of violence too but I do believe that this violence has been allowed to breed over time, largely because to many have been too quite about it for too long. Purely my opinion.

Of course the men are to blame, but this is a society where the government is complicit in abuse.

Looting of state resources, the politics of hatred from first the Nats, and now the EFF, and ANC (xenophobia, white monopoly capital, abusive increases in municipal charges, etc) send out messages that hatred is actually government policy – and that abuse is okay in society.

So why not hate women and children?

Throw in the lockdown where men lose their status as bread winners, and where all are hi afraid for the future, and the pressure is going to go through the roof.

The lockdowns have done permanent, long term damage, never mind that an already buckling economy and the virus were not enough.

Hopelessness and despair are going to manifest in some ugly ways while Cyril wrings his hands and throws money at the symptoms instead of trying to engage with the cause.

Government has yet to comprehend that the economy is what sustains life and supports law and order, and that it is high time for their abuse of it to stop.

Will this penny ever drop? A resounding no looks like the answer to that one.

Well said and of course the culture where a man buys his wife from her parents add to this problem. She then becomes his possession to do as he likes. But this is also never spoken about.

His is a typical political response.

Blames alcohol but never mentions he put millions out of work and left them destitute. In addition irritate and psychologically torment people with his childish cigarette ban.

No need to check anything else. They have the culprit.

Every few months Cirril gets onto this horse. It never helps. It is a culture thing. It will never stop.

Cyril and cele are alchohol and cigarette obsessed

An issue that Cyril has summoned up to get political support now that the COVID pandemic is not working out favorably for the ANC. He previously paid lip service to GBV and no reason to believe anything material will come out of this other than preventing decimation of the ANC’s voter base.

Sad to say, but it would appear that Ramaphosa’s expressed concern for the lives of women and children is nothing more that a diversionary and populist tactic to deflect attention from the shocking overall murder rate in SA. The fact is that around 400 South Africans are murdered every week, which from Ramaphosa’s figures indicates that the ratio of males to females in that number is at least 20:1 and could be much more. Or is Ramaphosa uninformed in this matter? Something doesn’t add up.

I believe this government is confused, distracted, and fully at sea. Last nights “show” was supposedly about Covid 19 and lockdowns and yet he swanned into GBV – these subjects are mutually exclusive as pandemics yet he chose to address both as one. The government has a paucity of facts yet they are steering the ship erratically, and, the captain seems more interested in re arranging the deckchairs than looking for the iceberg. I wonder how much of this countries population actually watched/listened to Cyril’s pleadings last night

Let us look at the statistics. For 2017/2018 (latest SAPS stats)

16421 men murdered
2930 women murdered
294 girls murdered
691 boys murdered

Clearly women and girls are not being murdered disproportionately, in fact quite the opposite. The absolute murder figures would indicate that South Africa is a violent society where human life has little value despite the mealy mouthed protestation of the Constitution.

One must be very wary of these tactics of Cyril. The principal weapon of the left wing is to find a divide in society and drive a wedge between it. This may be black/ white, rich/poor, male/female, employer/employee etc. Once they have divided you then they can rule you by pitting you against each other while they lord over you from on high. How bad for the ANC would it be if they cannot demonise a sector of the population?

I think you are right. Why is it worse for men to kill woman than woman to kill men. I guess it is only OK if men kill men or woman kill women? Maybe it is OK for woman to kill girls and not boys? Or maybe boys kill men but not women or girls? Should I get this clarified before I next loose my temper with anyone?

Larry, if you “know guys like this”, then you’re complicit. Shame on you.
I know nobody like this and would never stand for that. Be a real man Larry. Stand up for the weak.

But ja. 4-5 TIMES more men are murdered in South Africa than women. But I realise, mens lives don’t matter. Hence, we don’t have a general murder problem in SA, only a femicide problem.

@CR – Mr President… please sort out the electricity first.
My area has been without electricity for 24 hours.
Your minions are still trying to figure out where the problem lies.

I think I speak for all of us when I say we don’t give a F… about your electricity.

Maybe you should and show that your are still a caring citizen

To that point, has anyone seen my dog Scruffy?

‘It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.’ _ Frederick Douglass

A large part of the solution for the GBV was offered to us many decades ago. We failed to heed and implement. Ignorance perhaps?

Please find, charge and sentence every S’gantsontso to the pen (intentiary) so that they can meet other S’gantsontso’s so they can sort out who can occupy that Throne.

Take them away from our children and the women of the country before their maliciousness make more malicious people like them.

End of comments.

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