Rustenburg — The establishment of the National Council Against Gender-Based Violence is a major step towards putting the country on the right track to end all forms of violence against women and children.
"The establishment of the National Council Against Gender-Based Violence puts us on the right track as a country to effectively prevent all forms of violence against women and children," said Advocate Pheagane Solomon Moreroa, who is a member of the council.
He said the council was ready and "the engine is on".
The council, which has 20 members, was launched by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe at the closing event for the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign in Rustenburg on Monday.
Advocate Moreroa said their campaign aims for 365 days of no violence against women and children.
"The council is specifically going to look on those issues relating to the violation of women and children right's and come up with relevant activities throughout the year.
"We will also be able to implement those programmes supporting women and children who are being tortured and whose rights are being violated on a daily basis because this council has been set up to ensure that the rights of women and children are protected in South Africa," he said.
Advocate Moreroa said the programmes will firstly be driven from the national level and cascaded to the provincial level.
"We are appealing to South Africans to work with us. This council will not achieve its objective without the support of society to ensure that the rights of women and children are protected.
"We also want to appeal to young South Africans to focus on their education and refrain from engaging on drug and alcohol abuse," he said.
Speaking at the event, Motlanthe said the establishment of the council was indeed a positive step that will allow the nation to work in unison and in a coordinated fashion.
Motlanthe said statistics over the years had shown that 90 percent of women have experienced emotional and physical abuse, 71 percent have experienced sexual abuse and 60 percent of such cases were committed by partners, lovers or spouses.
He said these high rates of violence were the clearest indication that more still needed to be done.
"I am confident that we are making progress in influencing men to stop treating women and children as objects of abuse and violence," he said.
The Deputy President said every incident of abuse suffered by a woman or a child reflected the nation's failure to respond to the cries of the vulnerable.
Tebogo Mazibuko, 24 from Ledig near Sun City said: "There is nothing wrong in respecting children and our mothers. As a nation, we must always show respect to each other. I'm always disturbed by those who violate the rights of children and women in our communities and I believe those are the people who must be removed from society and be kept in prison."
This year marks the 13th anniversary of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign, which was held under the theme: "From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let's Challenge Militarism and End Violence Against Women!".
As a sub-theme, South Africa is focusing on the theme for the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW): "Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and children". -SAnews.gov.za