I am pleased to announce that the National Council Against Gender-Based Violence will be launched this Saturday, 25 of August 2012 at Southern Sun, OR Tambo Airport, Kempton Park.
On 25TH OF December 2011, Cabinet approved the establishment of the National Council Against Gender-Based Violence, which is a high-level multi-sectoral national response to the scourge of gender-based violence. The Council will be chaired by the Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr Kgalema Motlanthe and I will be its champion. Since the Cabinet announcement, a lot of work has been done by the interim Council and my department to mobilize partners and to prepare for the launch.
As government, we acknowledge that the levels of gender-based violence in our country are unacceptably high. According to the statistics announced by the Minister of Police last year, the combined figures of all sexual offences, including rape and indecent assault, indicate an upward trend of 2,1% in 2010/11 compared to 2009/2010. Cases of murder of women increased by 5,6% and sexual offences against children increased by 2,6% during this period. We are confident that the work of the Council will lead to a significant reduction in the incidents of violence against women and children.
Through the National Council Against Gender-Based Violence, we are taking the war against gender-based violence to a higher level. The Council has been charged with the following responsibilities:
To drive the implementation of the 365 Days Action Plan, advise government on policy and programme interventions
To advise government on policy and intervention programmes
Strengthen national partnerships in the fight against gender-based violence
Create and strengthen international partnerships
Monitor and report progress on initiatives aimed at addressing gender-based violence
The National Council Against Gender-Based Violence is envisaged to have 45 members with a dedicated Secretariat located in the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities. Council members will be appointed for a period of two to three years. There will also be observers from key organisations such as the Commission on Gender Equality, United Nations bodies, research institutions, donor partners and experts.
We have ensured that the Council is as representative as possible to enable us to draw from the diverse expertise, views and experience of various stakeholders. The following sectors will be represented in the Council:
Civil society organisations dealing with violence against women and children and gender-based violence
Academic and Research institutions
Government across all spheres and the South African Local Government Association (SALGA)
Working together, we can do more to eliminate gender-based violence.
I thank you