South Africa continues to experience high prevalence of Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF). Since the country entered Lockdown Level 3, there has been a surge in gender-based violence and femicide. Women and girls are being abused, assaulted and murdered in our country every day at the hands of men. This onslaught issue manifests in homes, workplaces, neighbourhoods regardless of the class, race or geographic location of perpetrators, survivors or victims.
The clear message on the streets of the nation is the call for an end to all forms of violence against women and children; an end to impunity for perpetrators of GBVF; for public and private spaces to be made safe for women and children; and for adequate resourcing of the psychosocial and other needs of survivors, provided by both government and through civil society. We are in deep crisis as a country and that must be brought to a decisive end.
“As government, we recognise and acknowledge that we cannot do this alone. This is a societal problem that needs all of us to rally all our efforts and resources collectively and confront this enemy head on,” said Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.
During the weekend, we learnt with shock the discovery of a mutilated body of a woman in Eersterus, Pretoria. She was allegedly stabbed to death by her lover on Saturday, 13th June 2020. The whereabouts of the perpetrator is currently unknown. Anyone with information must contact SAPS Captain Mokwane at Eersterus SAPS on 0828228337.
The country is still shattered by the body of the young woman found dumped under a tree in Dobsonville, Soweto on Friday – Tshegofatso Pule, who was eight months pregnant, was found stabbed to death and hanging from a tree in an open veld last week. Naledi Phangindawo, Nompumelelo Tshaka, Sibongiseni Gabada and countless other young women have lost their lives for no reason and this must stop.
Government acknowledges the crisis with regards to GBVF and condemn the current brutal killing of innocent women and children. Our sincere condolences go to all the families who lost their loved one in the hands of heartless men. As government we want a society where women, children and other vulnerable groups can live freely, without fear of either being abused or killed. We reconfirm our commitment to fighting the scourge of GBVF with more vigour.
CALL TO ACTION TO THE NATION
We are aware that this fight is bigger than government, and we need communities to helps us curb this epidemic. Communities can play a big role in curbing this epidemic by reporting incidents of abuse to local organisations, and South African Police Service (SAPS). The Crime Stop Hotline on 08600 10111 or send an anonymous SMS to Crime Line at 32211, or to call the Gender-Based Violence Command Centre on 0800 428 428.
Communities must come together against GBVF and expose perpetrators and not turn a blind eye to abuse. We have developed pathways for victims and communities to help spot occurrences of GBVF and find ways to escape or seek help. These are some of the actions you can take as an individual to protect yourself:
· Have a friend or relative that you can call on should you need help;
· Create a code for whoever your safe person is so that they know you are in danger;
· Share the code with your children;
· You could also share a sign with your neighbours that you will use to indicate to them that you need help;
· Have emergency numbers available; i.e. SAPS, local NGO, Call Command Centre;
· When you escape, leave at the safest time, e.g. when the abuser is asleep, or make an excuse to go out;
· Go to a safe place like a family member’s house, a local NGO, SAPS, etc
We urge communities to work with the police and report any tip-offs they may have to the Crime Stop Hotline on 08600 10111 or send an anonymous SMS to Crime Line at 32211, or to call the Gender-Based Violence Command Centre at 0800 428 428.
CALL TO MEN TO SUPPORT THE FIGHT AGAINST GBVF
We do know that not all men are bad, and at the same time we cannot blame women and children for losing trust in men. Whether you consider yourself to be a good man, or a responsible father, the fact of the matter is that women have experienced abuse at the hands of those who claim to love them, and they associate men with abuse and pain. It’s time for men to change this image. One of ways this can be done is to start in your communities, educating your brothers, cousins, neighbours, colleagues about dignity and respect for human life.
EXPECTION FROM EACH DISTRICT
We urge every municipality to track GBVF daily by doing the following:
· To daily record number of calls to ALL helplines (Police, GBV command, clinics, Lifeline and local CPF) you have received and indicate what were they for
· To track the Call Referral and action/status
· Record number of Protection Orders issued and
· Report on the number of the cases that went to court
Government continues to work with society in the implementation of the National Strategic Plan – The National Strategic Plan is a government and civil society’s multi-sectoral strategic framework to realise a South Africa free from gender-based violence and femicide. It recognises all violence against women (across age, location, disability, sexual orientation, sexual and gender identity, nationality and other diversities) as well as violence against children.
As Government, we will continue to improve our response to GBVF, by ensuring that perpetrators are brought to book, whilst taking good care of survivors. Most importantly, we will be engaging all structures of society through on-going dialogues, education and healing sessions. We are not oblivious of the painful past that we have gone through. A past that encouraged patriarchy, inequality and marginalisation. We want to work with communities so that we can get to the root of this problem.
Issued by Government Communications (GCIS) on behalf of the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities