The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children commence today. The theme for the DA's campaign during this period is "Challenging Vulnerability and Inequality".
South African women and children face intolerably high levels of violence. At least one in three women will be raped in her lifetime, while an estimated 150 children are raped in South Africa every day.
While issues affecting women and children are always central to the DA's engagement as an opposition party and our delivery and support structures where we govern, we support the 16 Days of Activism as an opportunity to promote awareness around the challenges faced by women and children in our country.
Inequality in income, education, status and access to services and support make women and children vulnerable to pervasive levels of violence and abuse.
Over the next two weeks, the DA will be tackling a range of topics related to violence against women and children. These include:
• Proposing solutions to address South Africa's shortage of social workers;
• Continuing our efforts to ensure that the Child Protection Register is properly managed to protect children from exposure to sexual predators and persons convicted of violent crimes against children;
• Identifying problems in the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act and Children's Act, and compiling an action plan to ensure that this legislation serves its intended purpose ; and
• Critically assessing the newly proposed Women's Empowerment and Gender Equity Bill and whether it will serve to empower the women of South Africa, or only the Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities who will be given extensive powers should this law be passed.
We will drive these themes through a number of initiatives, including roundtable discussions with social workers and key experts, and visiting a number of organisations across the social welfare sector to engage directly with the professionals and victims of violence or abuse who encounter these challenges on a daily basis.
We call on all South Africans to participate in the 16 Days of Activism Campaign and to ensure that the problems and solutions highlighted during this campaign are integrated in our discourse and action as we work every day to create an environment where South African women and children can thrive.
Helen Lamoela, Shadow Minister of Women, Youth, Children and People with Disabilities