President Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed unjust of Gender Based Violence in South Africa. A year ago, almost to the day, thousands of women, men and children marched to Parliament to protest against a spate of rapes and killings of women and girls.
However, at the time, the nation was reeling from the murders of Uyinene Mrwetyana, Leighandre Jegels, Jesse Hess and a number of other women who had lost their lives at the hands of brutal men.
Ramaphosa said all social backgrounds, young and old, students and working women, the peaceful protesters held aloft placards that read ‘Enough is Enough’ and ‘Am I next?’.
He added that the anguish and the anger was palpable that day. He further said as he received their clearly articulated demands, it was clear to him that there is need to act urgently and with determination.
“I committed to marshal the substantial resources of the state to tackle gender-based violence and femicide. I gave an undertaking that we would review our laws around gender-based violence,” said Ramaphosa.
Ramaphos said one of the key demands made by many women’s organisations was that the laws of the country should be tightened on granting bail to suspects and enforcement of long sentences for offenders.
In addition, he concluded that the struggle to end gender-based violence needed a multipronged strategy that should be led by the President and enlisted government to act.
“The Cabinet agreed to allocate resources and commit to a plan of action. A few days later, I called a joint sitting of Parliament, where we announced a R1.6 billion Emergency Response Action Plan to combat gender-based violence and femicide,” he said.
The first is the Bill to amend the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act. This creates a new offence of sexual intimidation, extends the ambit of the offence of incest, and extends the reporting duty of persons who suspect a sexual offence has been committed against a child.
The three amendment Bills are designed to fill the gaps that allow some perpetrators of these crimes to evade justice and to give full effect to the rights of the country’s women and children.