(MENAFN- African Press Organization)
Parliament's Presiding Officers (POs), led by the Speaker of the National Assembly (NA), Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, and the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), Mr Amos Masondo, join the world in commemorating 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence (GBV).
Among other things, the campaign aims to raise awareness about violence against women and children, and make people aware of the negative impact of this violence. It also aims to eliminate all forms of abuse from the South African society.
The United Nations and Beijing declarations define violence against women as“any act of GBV that results in or is likely to result in physical, sexual, or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life”. President Cyril Ramaphosa has described GBV as a pandemic, and like any pandemic, it continues to take the lives of women and children.
Crime statistics for the 2019/2020 period in South Africa indicate that 2 695 women and 943 children were killed in South Africa. These statistics paint a dark picture of how GBV continues to deny women and children the right to live safely and peacefully in their society.
“These figures of 2 695 women and 943 children, who were killed in that period, are unacceptably too high and shocking. In the fight against GBV, Parliament passed three important GBV Bills. They are the Domestic Violence Amendment Bill; the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act Amendment Bill; and the Criminal and Related Matters Amendment Bill,” said the POs.
“When these Bills become laws,” they continued,“they will certainly create a new paradigm that will sharpen the edge of the law enforcement agencies to deal with acts of GBV and other forms of violence with success.”
The POs reiterate Parliament's commitment to its constitutional role of oversight over the executive by, among other things, closely monitoring the implementation of these laws to effectively eliminate and finally push back all the frontiers of violence.
The POs said the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and the implementation of lockdown measures in the past 18 months have exacerbated GBV in South Africa. Statistics show that three women were killed by their partners every day during this time. Throughout this era of lockdowns, women have become more vulnerable to abuse from men and are dying on a daily basis.
The deep-rooted patriarchy in our communities is the foundation and springboard for GBV to continue in South Africa. The POs call upon all men of goodwill to be at the forefront of the 2021 campaign against the abuse of women and children. Parliament calls on all men to mobilise in our communities, driven by the slogan Not in My Name.
“Parliament will never relent in our promotion of human rights, equality, non-sexism and the supremacy of the Constitution,” concluded the POs.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa: The Parliament.
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