Speech by the Premier on occassion of 16 Days of activism

Speech by the Premier of the Northern Cape, Ms Hazel Jenkins, on the occasion of the launch of the 16 Days of activism of no violence against women and children, 25 November 2010


Programme Director, MEC for Sport, Arts and Culture, Pauline Williams

MEC for Education, Grizelda Cjikella

MEC for Environmental Affairs and Nature Conservation, Sylvia Lucas

John Taole Gaetsewe District Mayor, Benjamin Gaobusiwe

Gamagara Local Municipality Mayor, Maria Diniza

Interfaith Leaders

Commission on Gender Equality


Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen


The Campaign on 16 days of activism for no violence against women and children is a very important period on our events calendar and proves that we are united with the rest of the world in combating the scourge.

The campaign is aimed to unite communities and families; to ensure that men stop abusing women; respect women and children; ensure tough action against perpetrators: empower young women and children; ensure a better life for people to create a violence-free society; recruit men and boys as active members of the campaign.

Violence against women and children must come to an end. Together, we can and must do more to prevent violence against women, provide services to survivors, and ensure that perpetrators are punished.

Gender-based violence reflects inequities between men and women and compromises the health, dignity, integrity, security and autonomy of its victims. It encompasses a wide range of human rights violations, including sexual abuse of children, rape, domestic violence, sexual assault and harassment, trafficking of women and girls and several harmful traditional practices. Any one of these abuses can leave deep psychological scars, damage the health of women and girls particularly their reproductive and sexual health, and in most instances, result in death.

Other widespread forms of violence in some African countries include systematic rape - used as a weapon of war, leaving millions of women and adolescent girls traumatized, forcibly impregnated, or infected with HIV/AIDS.

Programme Director, we mark the sixteen days of activism campaign not only to raise awareness about the negative impact violence has on women and children, but most importantly to take a decisive stance against the abuse of women and children.

LET US SAY NO TO VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND CHILDREN,

LET US SAY NO TO RAPE,

LET SAY NO TO HUMAN TRAFFICKING

LET US ENSURE THEE PERPETRATORS OF THESE CRIMES ARE PUSHED BY OUR COURTS;

We believe that through the collective efforts of government, civil-society organisations and the business sector working together, we can broaden the impact of the campaign. By supporting this campaign, thousands of South Africans have also helped to increase awareness of abuse and build support for victims and survivors of abuse.

As the Provincial Government we are firmly committed to lead this campaign and ensure that it succeeds in its endeavours to contribute to creating an environment where women and children are free, safe and protected.

We have set ourselves the task of improving the position of women, giving them more self-confidence and making sure that they assume their rightful place in society and in the public sphere.

We have through various empowerment campaigns and programmes ensured that women enjoy their human rights and be treated with dignity and respect.

We dedicate this important occasion on the calendar of our country to the complete elimination of violence and abuse against women and children. It is a time to encourage our people to engage in practical programmes and take active steps to fight the scourge of violence against women and children.

Programme Director, we have been reeling from the news of some of the most brutal and horrific acts of violence and rape that were recently committed by some of the perpetrators of these heinous crimes against women and children as reported on the Televisions, newspapers and radio stations:

* South Africans were outraged to hear that a grade eight learner was allegedly drugged and gang raped while her classmates stood around and filmed it on their cell phones. It was sickening for the mere fact that they have recorded it on their cellphones.
* Ms Avelina Kajuba from Plaatfontein was bludgeoned to death by her common law husband.
* A young school girl Rihanna Moshoeshoe went missing early this year and have not been seen or heard since.
* An alleged serial rapist, Mlungisi Mtshali was arrested in Kwamashu, Durban on the 12 of November 2010 in connection with the rape of 12 women.
* February 8 2010: A seven year old girl was repeatedly raped in the school toilet by three boys (one age nine and two aged 11) who attended the same school.
* February 19 2010: A girl in grade 11 at Bryanston High School in Jo’burg accused fellow pupil of raping her. He allegedly coerced her into the toilet while she was waiting for a school play to start.
* May 25 2010: A 14 year old girl was raped, allegedly by her school friends, in Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape. She had bunked school with friends who later offered to escort her home. Police noticed the group behaving suspiciously in nearby bushes in the area and soon found the girl lying unconscious. Two boys, aged 15 and 18, were charged with rape.
* November 8 2010: A 11year old girl from Katlehong raped by a 48-year-old school caretaker at her primary school on several occasions.

I am citing these incidents to you to demonstrate the severity of these acts of violence against women and children and the devastating impact it has on the victims and families. It also shows how endemic to South African schools gender based violence has become.
Ladies and Gentlemen, since 1994, Government has developed legislation to redress the wrongs affecting women and children.

Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, 2000 was passed to ensure that everyone enjoy Constitutional rights. This Act ensures that women have equal enjoyment of rights and freedoms, in addressing the wrongs of the past.

Employment Equity Act, 1998 ensures that discrimination in employment; occupation and income within the labour market that resulted from apartheid laws are curtailed. It encourages equitable representation of women and other historically disadvantages persons at all levels of public and private entities.

Maintenance Act, 1998 guarantees the rights of a child to a living standard which is adequate for physical, mental, spiritual and social development. The Act ensures that maintenance for the child is recovered from the parents or other persons financially responsible for the child.

Domestic Violence Act, 1998 was enacted to afford survivors of violence maximum protection from domestic abuse. Women, who are at the receiving end of domestic violence, now have a legal recourse that will ensure their protection.

Children’s Act, 2005 and Children’s Amendment Act, 2007 was enacted to amongst others, protect a child from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation.

We call on you to join government, civil society organisation and the business sector if we want to win the war against the perpetrators of these heinous crimes.

Programme Director, we must ensure that these laws and acts find practical expression in our daily lives and society at large. Our campaign is emphasising the obligation that all of us have to report cases of abuse, to assist the police and social workers in their investigation and to be available to act as witnesses in court to increase probability of a conviction.

Every woman and girl should live in a home where she is free from the threat of violence. Every girl should be able to attend school without the risk of abuse. Every woman and girl should be free from gender-based violence. Every woman and girl should walk the streets of out Towns and Townships without any fear of harassment or attack.

Let us continue to support our law enforcement officers to carry out their duties to their full potential. Let us point out the perpetrators who hide amongst us.

I THANK

KE ALEBOGA

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