South Africa brought its 16 Days of Activism campaign to a close on Monday with the launch of the National Council Against Gender-Based Violence, a 20-member body that will co-ordinate the country's bid to end all forms of violence against women and children.
The 20-member council was launched by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe at the closing event of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign in Rustenburg, North West province on Monday.
The council will facilitate the provision of help and response to victims and survivors of gender-based violence, adopt comprehensive measures to address violence against women and children, and coordinate the 365 Days National Plan of Action against Gender-Based Violence.
The council will be chaired by the Deputy President, with a dedicated secretariat located in the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities.
The establishment of the council was a major step that put South Africa on the right track to ending all forms of violence against women and children, said council member Advocate Pheagane Solomon Moreroa.
"The council is specifically going to look into those issues relating to the violation of women and children rights 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," Moreroa said.
"We are appealing to South Africans to work with us. This council will not achieve its objective without the support of society.
"We also want to appeal to young South Africans to focus on their education and refrain from engaging on drug and alcohol abuse."
Motlanthe said the high rates of gender-based violence in South Africa were a clear indication that more needed to be done. He 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.