The South African government has reiterated its commitment to improve its response to gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF).
This comes after another brutal murder this past weekend, following what President Cyril Ramaphosa had already described as South Africa’s “dark and shameful week”… where the country mourned what appeared to be a spike in violent murders of innocent women, as lockdown regulations were eased and saw more socialising and the re-opening of liquor stores.
The latest discovery – of a woman’s mutilated body – came in Eersterus, Pretoria, on Saturday (13 June).
She was allegedly stabbed to death by her lover. The whereabouts of the perpetrator are currently unknown. (Anyone with information on this case can contact SAPS Captain Mokwane at Eersterus SAPS on 0828228337.)
“As government, we will continue to improve our response to GBVF by ensuring that perpetrators are brought to book, whilst taking good care of survivors,” Minister of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, said on Monday.
The Government is working to implement the National Strategic Plan (NSP), as part of its efforts to deal with GBVF.
“This is a societal problem that needs all of us to rally all our efforts and resources collectively and confront this enemy head on,” Nkoana-Mashabane said.
She called on communities to expose perpetrators of GBVF by reporting incidents of abuse to local organisations, and South African Police Service (SAPS).
“Communities must come together against GBVF and expose perpetrators and not turn a blind eye to abuse,” the Minister said.
Prevalence of GBVF cases in South Africa
Nkoana-Mashabane said the country is still shattered by the discovery of the body of Tshegofatso Pule, a young woman whose body was recently found in Dobsonville, Soweto.
Pule was stabbed to death and found hanging from a tree in an open veld. She was eight months pregnant.
“Naledi Phangindawo, Nompumelelo Tshaka, Sibongiseni Gabada and countless other young women have lost their lives for no reason and this must stop. Government acknowledges the crisis with regards to GBVF and condemnes the brutal killing of innocent women and children.
“Our sincere condolences go to all the families who lost their loved ones in the hands of heartless men. As government, we want a society where women, children and other vulnerable groups can live freely, without fear of either being abused or killed. We reconfirm our commitment to fighting the scourge of GBVF with more vigour,” the Minister said.
Advice to Spot GBVF and Escape or Seek Help:
The Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities has developed the following helpful pathways for victims and communities:
- Have a friend or relative that you can call on should you need help;
- Create a code for whoever your safe person is so that they know you are in danger;
- Share the code with your children;
- You could also share a sign with your neighbours that you will use to indicate to them that you need help;
- Have emergency numbers available; i.e. SAPS, local NGO, Call Command Centre;
- When you escape, leave at the safest time, e.g. when the abuser is asleep, or make an excuse to go out;
- Go to a safe place like a family member’s house, a local NGO, SAPS, etc
Communities have been urged to work with the police and report any tip-offs to the Crime Stop Hotline on 08600 10111 or send an anonymous SMS to Crime Line on 32211, or to call the Gender-Based Violence Command Centre on 0800 428 428.