The Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Mr Enver Surty, took part in the launch of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children, in Rustenburg, on 24 November 2012.
The campaign has grown to an annual movement held each year on 25 November up until 10 December. Its aim is to campaign for no violence against women and children; whom statistics show are the most affected by abuse worldwide. The international theme for 2012 is From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let's Challenge Militarism and End Violence Against Women!
South Africa has been part of the global 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children Campaign for 13 years and has used it as a platform to push for mechanisms to protect Women and Children from violence and abuse.
Although South Africa's Constitution is regarded as one of the best in the world, particularly when it comes to the rights of women and children, the prevalence of violence in South Africa continues to demand urgent attention.
Addressing women and children in Rustenburg, Deputy Minister Surty said that the Government has taken some strides in ensuring that women and children are protected against violence and abuse.
"It is essential for all our citizens to know their rights, and take responsibility for protecting them; however this also means that we all have to respect the rights of others," the Deputy Minister remarked.
"As part of 16 Days of No Violence Against Women and Children, we condemn bullying and killings in our schools," Deputy Minister Surty added.
The Deputy Minister advised young people present not to engage in sexual activities at an early age, as that might compromise their future, and told them to focus on education.
"I cannot stress how urgent a priority it is for the Department of Basic Education and South Africa as a whole, to improve the levels of literacy and numeracy in our country. Use the workbooks to improve your ability to read, write and count," the Deputy Minister concluded.
The South African government is urging every citizen to participate in the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign. This will involve challenging perpetrators to change their behaviour, involving men in helping eradicate violence and providing survivors with information on services and organisation that can help lessen the impact of violence and abuse on their lives.
South Africans are urged to support the campaign by wearing a white ribbon, symbolising peace, until the end of the campaign on 10 December 2012.