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Speech by Chana Pilane-Majake (MP): Together moving forward for a non-violent South Africa

21st November 2017 : National Assembly

Honourable Speaker, 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence is a global campaign meant to sensitize government about ending the scourge of violence against women and children who are most affected. The campaign also includes men who find themselves in a similar position.

As we celebrate 2017 as the centenary year of the birth of Isithwalandwe Oliver Reginald Tambo we remember what he said as the President of the ANC on the 14th November 1981 in Luanda, Angola:

"We invite the Women's Section of the ANC and the black women of South Africa, who are more oppressed and more exploited than any section of the population, to take up this challenge and assume their proper role outside the kitchen among the fighting ranks of our movement and its command post."

At the dawn of democracy, the ANC-led government introduced measures that promoted an integrated approach to elimination of the scourge of gender-based violence. The National Crime Prevention Strategy of 1996 inculcated a victim-centred approach in the criminal justice system.

In the 2014 election manifesto, the ANC committed itself to prioritise incidents of domestic violence and crimes against women by further strengthening the Sexual Offences and Community Affairs Units and pursuing a multi-disciplinary approach in the fight against violence on women and children.

Studies from WHO indicate that between 16% and 52% of women world-wide are physically assaulted by an intimate partner at least once in their lives. Violence has been identified as a contributory factor to maternal mortality. It is estimated that rape and domestic violence "account for five percent of the healthy years of life lost to women of reproductive age in demographically developing countries" (World Bank, 2003).

Hon Speaker, through the efforts of the ANC lead government, we have seen the enactment of progressive pieces of legislation such as the Domestic Violence Act, Protection from Harassment Act, amendments to the Criminal Procedure Act, Sexual Offences and Related Matters Act and Amendments to the Maintenance Act. We have seen the establishment of Sexual Offences Courts and Community Affairs Unit in the National Prosecuting Authority such as victim-centred Thuthuzela Care Centres (TCC), which provide a coordinated, victim-friendly approach in the management of sexual offences. There is work in progress in reviewing the 2003 Victim's Charter in a bid to substitute it with another legislative framework seeking to bring the victim to the centre of the criminal justice system. The Department of Social Development's Gender-Based Violence Command Centre (GBVCC), has establishment a 24-hour call centre dedicated to providing support and counselling to victims of gender based violence.

The department of Justice and Correctional Services through NPA, has been running the Ndabezitha Project which seeks to train traditional leaders, prosecutors and court clerks on domestic violence matters in rural areas.

The report by the ANCWL Bokone Bophirima Province last Friday, condemned acts of violence reported about the (EFF) Chief Whip in Provincial Legislature who is also EFF Deputy Provincial Chairperson Bunga Ntsangane who assaulted a female EFF colleague and also threatened to "cut off" her private parts during a heated argument. The EFF must be decisive in dealing with such barbaric acts and utterances that are a mockery to South Africa's Constitutional Democracy.

What needs to be done to make it Better

Close Monitoring of Gender Based Violence Statistics ( SAPS, NPA, Courts, Correctional Center Parole programme in respect of gender based violence) To promote coherent country gender based violence programme with a clear message: -

- it is wrong to murder a woman
- it is wrong to assault a woman
- it is wrong to rape a woman
- it is wrong to traffic a woman and turn her into a labour or sex slave
- it is wrong to financially exploit a woman as your spouse or partner
- it is wrong to verbally abuse a woman with the intention to leave no physical evidence. Verbal abuse harms women emotionally and psychologically
- In solidarity with our sisters in the continent of Africa. The women of South Africa are saying no to female genital mutilation for enjoyment of men. All governments of the are urged to stand against the use of women as the tool of war.

To advance the status of women, South Africa is today fast tracking skilling of women in areas previously during apartheid regime dominated by males and white people. We celebrate today women the numbers of qualified women engineers, pilots, medical doctors. Gender Based violence is a nuisance and a hindrance to development of women.

Allocation of adequate resources, including budgets for training of health providers, forensic investigator and analysts can be assured.

Education and sensitization of especially young women about understanding what is an abusive relationship and what to do when the signs of gender based violence are laid bare in a relationship.

Strengthening and capacitating the Justice System to ensure successful prosecution, conviction and harsher sentences as a deterrent.


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