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Source: The Presidency
Title: Zuma: Closing ceremony of 16 Days of Activism Campaign
Address by Deputy President, Jacob Zuma, at the Closing Ceremony of
the 16 Days of Activism on No Violence Against Women and Children
Campaign, Mitchell’s Plain, Western Cape
10 December 2004
Ministers and Deputy Ministers, The Premier of the Western Cape,
Ebrahim Rasool, Members of Parliament, MECs and MPLs, The Mayor of
the Cape Town Unicity, Noma-India Mfeketo Community Leaders,
We meet today, on International Human Rights Day, to mark the end
of a highly successful campaign, which brought together many
sectors of our people, united in the quest for a free and more
secure environment for our women and children.
Allow me, from the outset, to congratulate all our people, in all
sectors and in all communities, on the highly successful 16 Days of
Activism on No Violence against Women and Children.
Let me hasten to add that we are gathered today to officially close
the 16 Days campaign, but definitely not to end the programme and
action against the scourge of violence against women and children.
We are today reviewing our successes, with a view to building on
those in working to eradicate this scourge, over the 365 days of
There were many angles to the campaign this year. One of these was
the building of 16 houses countrywide for abused and elderly women
in society. The houses are being handed over to beneficiaries in
all provinces. Some provinces have decided to build 16 houses each
which, indicates the extent of the commitment and seriousness. In
addition, we have witnessed a highly effective postcard pledge
campaign. We congratulate all South Africans who signed the
postcard pledges, enabling the return of 225 987 of these
Other women stated their views via the Internet, the safe rooms at
police stations, clinics and courtrooms, and through the various
creative arts initiatives across the country, as well as in the
print and electronic media.
Women have spoken and the message was loud and clear. Domestic
violence must stop, and the abuse of women and children must come
to an end.
In closing the 16 days campaign, we need to now plan to take this
struggle forward by working to strengthen the instruments we have
that can protect women and children. We have to continue
popularising the rights of all citizens as enshrined in our
Constitution and Bill of Rights in order for all of us to make the
Constitution a living and meaningful document. All in our society
must be conscientised about these rights, including our children,
from an early age, for us to build a caring and humane
The emphasis should also continue to be on action. We have, as
Government, adopted the Service Charter for Victims of Crime in
South Africa, commonly known as the "Victims' Charter", which
contains what we call the "seven rights for victims" , and which
will empower women to report perpetrators to authorities without
fear of reprisals.
The Victims' Charter and the Minimum Standards on Service for
Victims of Crime deal with rights to fairness, to dignity and
privacy; to offer and receive information; to protection; as well
as to assistance, compensation and restitution. We believe that
this is not only a progressive practical step, but also a landmark
Ladies and gentlemen, let me reiterate the need for us to intensify
the campaign and action, and most importantly, to work at rooting
out the causes of abuse and not deal only with the symptoms. This
matter was also discussed by delegates at the Moral Regeneration
Movement conference last week.
The MRM seeks to bring together government and all sectors to
develop a national consensus on positive values to embrace, as well
as to promote ethical values in line with our value system as
enunciated and enshrined in our country’s Constitution.
One of the key messages that the MRM, and indeed all of us are
communicating and promoting, is that let us not just address the
symptoms and manifestations of abuse, but also the underlying value
system of male dominance that sustains that abuse. Religious,
traditional and social values that regard men as superior to women
and women as perpetual minors must be exposed as immoral with no
space in our constitutional dispensation, and in our vision of a
Secondly, men can be part of the solution, and not mainly part of
the problem. The struggle for gender equality cannot be fully won
without constructive male involvement. The majority of men in our
communities are not abusers. Therefore, men’s initiatives
that seek to fight women abuse and promote gender equality need to
We must also emphasise that breaking the silence is not a disgrace,
and women and children must speak out against abuse.
Ladies and gentlemen, the role of the mass media is very important
in this campaign. The Media Monitoring Project has already
undertaken substantial research; especially with regard to changes
in the way women and child abuse have been reported in the media
over the last seven years.
Among the positive changes reported is the shift away from
reporting cases of abuse from a male perspective, which tended to
entrench both the abuse and the victim status of women.
Other trends include greater coverage and awareness of gender-based
violence. According to the report 63% of female journalists are now
reporting on abuse as opposed to less than 5% in 1998.
There are also increases in the number of women who speak out, and
considerably more information is currently being made available
about victims, aid organisations, guidelines and advice about
coping with abuse. We acknowledge the positive contribution of the
mass media in this campaign.
The challenge for the media, in this regard, as with all of us, is
to sustain the high level of reporting of gender-based violence
beyond the 16 Days, using the levels of the campaign as the
Finally, let us remember that the family is the most important
institution in our society. Peace in our families and communities
can only be fully sustained if women and children are not abused,
if they live in a caring and loving environment in which they can
develop and thrive.
Once again, congratulations to all the organisers and co-ordinators
in government and civil society. This has been a highly impressive
and very effective campaign. We also congratulate all South
Africans for such dedication and commitment.
I wish you all a new year filled with joy, success and