Today I will be submitting parliamentary questions to Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities to ascertain exactly how she proposes that the establishment of the National Council Against Gender-Based Violence, announced on Monday 6 August, will be different from the range of current task teams and councils established to address violence against women.
The Council will be chaired by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and will consist of a dedicated secretariat located in the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities.
This is not the first time that such a council has been established. In fact, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development and the Department of Social Development, together with the monitoring and oversight function of the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities have already established:
Minister Xingwana must explain to the women of South Africa how this new initiative proposes to protect women and end the scourge of domestic violence. While millions are being poured into establishing one expensive task team and council after the other, the levels of gender-based violence remain unacceptably high.
The DA has previously called for concrete steps to be taken to address gender-based violence, including:
Reinstating sexual offences courts;
It is time for Minister Xingwana to take up her responsibility as the watchdog over line departments who are tasked with implementing strategies aimed at improving the lives of women. It is time to go beyond the rhetoric and identify the real obstacles to women’s empowerment and develop concrete solutions to overcome them.