‘Gender based violence now a pandemic in South Africa’

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Diana Chiyangwa

Gender based violence has become a pandemic in South Africa “with 21 women being killed in the last few weeks”.

Ramaphosa said this Wednesday addressing the country on the country’s risk adjusted strategy in managing the spread of Covid19.

“Their killers thought they could silence them. But we will not forget them and we will speak for them where they cannot” Ramaphosa said.

This comes after the discovery of the body of Tshegofatso Pule, a 28-year-old pregnant woman, found hanging from a tree in Durban Deep in Roodeport last week. Her gruesome death sparked outrage and calls to end gender based violence in the country.

Some reports have said gender based violence cases have risen by over 500% since March, when the Covid-19 lockdown started.

“We will speak for Tshegofatso Pule, Naledi Phangindawo, Nompumelelo Tshaka, Momfazi Gabada, Mwabisa Mgwandela, Altecia Kotjie and Lindelwa Peni, all young women who were killed by men.
“We will speak for the 89-year-old grandmother who was killed in an old age home in Queenstown, the 79-year-old grandmother who was killed in Brakpan and the elderly woman who was raped in Kwasinyama in KwaZulu Natal.

“They are not just the statistics. They have names and they have families and friends,” Ramaphosa said.

Minister of Police Bheki Cele, recently said gender based violence is a societal problem that should be fought by everyone.

He also defended the police against allegations of failure to act after his charges were roundly criticised for their heavy-handedness in enforcing lockdown regulations while failing to protect women who are being maimed daily.

However, Ramaphosa has commended the police for its work the alleged perpetrators.

Muzikayise Malephane, 31, the suspect in Pule’s murder made his first appearance at Roodeport Magistrate Court on June 17.

He has been charged with pre-meditated murder and the case has been postponed to 24 June 2020.

The scourge has resulted in the growing number of calls for the speedy implementation of the government’s National Strategic Plan on gender based violence and femicide.

“Legislative amendments have been prepared around, among other things, minimum sentencing in cases of gender based violence, bail conditions for suspects, and greater protection for women who are victims of intimate partner violence,” Ramaphosa said.

Many pressure groups are advocating for the shift in attitudes towards women, and calling for men to be part of the solution. About 51 percent of women in South Africa have experienced violence at the hands of their intimate partners.

 

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