Political parties call for greater efforts in dealing with scourge of GBV

Political parties call for greater efforts in dealing with scourge of GBV

CAPE TOWN - Political parties have called for greater efforts in dealing with the scourge of violence against women and children.

The issue was in the spotlight in the National Assembly on Tuesday during a debate on the 16 Days of Activism for no violence against women and children, which starts on Wednesday.

The launch coincides with the five days of national mourning announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa to mark the passing of those who have died through gender-based violence as well as from COVID-19.

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A call from the ANC’s Keitumetse Tlhomelang for a change in thinking about gender-based violence: “Patriarchy must be urgently addressed by looking at the following areas: changing the environment so that women are in a position to access and exercise their rights, addressing the income gap between men and women, rich and poor… addressing the growing feminisation of poverty, addressing the skewed nature of the private sector that reinforces male domination especially at decision-making levels…”

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The Economic Freedom Fighters blamed the government for the current state of affairs: “The police have lost the fight against gender-based violence and there seems to be no political will to tackle the challenges.”

A number of parties called for the 16 Days of Activism campaign to be extended to cover 365 days of the year and called on men to step up to the plate to help deal with the crisis.

Meanwhile, Police Minister Bheki Cele on Tuesday said thousands of gender-based violence (GBV) cases in the country are withdrawn due to pressure from relatives.

Nearly 9,000 rape cases were reported between July and September as the country continues to be under the national state of disaster.

Cele said the police were working to introduce a specialised desk that would be at police stations across the country, dedicated to dealing with cases of GBV.

He said legislation to allow the State to prosecute perpetrators even when cases have been withdrawn must urgently be put in place.

“The government and the State must proceed to prosecute those people. They should not stop because there are thousands of cases that are withdrawn, and are withdrawn on the insistence of the families and friends.”

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