13 February 2013

South Africa: National Council Against Gender-Based Violence Silent As War On Women Rages On

Photo: GCIS
South Africans Standing Up Against Rape

press release

The latest brutal murder of a young woman has shocked and saddened the DA. Our condolences go out to the family and friends of Jo-Anne van Schalkwyk, who are experiencing something no family should ever have to go through.

Sadly, this ever rising tide of violence against South African women and children is not being stemmed by government departments, which seem to be engaging in a great deal of talking, but not much doing.

On Tuesday, the brutally beaten body of Jo-Anne van Schalkwyk was found in Atlantis. She was raped and beaten to death. She is not the first woman to be brutally murdered in the last few weeks, nor will she be the last if we do not take action.

The National Council Against Gender-Based Violence, which is supposed to be implementing programmes against gender-based violence, has yet to make its voice heard on this issue. The Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities must explain exactly what this council has been doing since it was established, who has been appointed to it, and what steps they are taking to ensure the safety of South Africa's women and children.

The National Council Against Gender-Based Violence was first announced back in 2010. It was finally established on 10 December 2012. Its responsibilities include:

Driving the implementation of the 365 Days Action Plan;

Advising government on policy and intervention programmes;

Strengthening national partnerships in the fight against gender-based violence;

Creating and strengthening international partnerships; and

Monitoring and reporting progress on initiatives aimed at addressing gender-based violence.

We are 44 days into the year and the Council do not seem to be driving the implementation of the 365 Days Action Plan. In fact, they do not seem to be doing anything. The Chair of the Council, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, has yet to say a word on gender-based violence.

Minister Lulu Xingwana said yesterday that enough is enough. But the questions remain: What is she doing about gender-based violence? How many more Anenes and Jo-Annes will have to suffer before she stops talking and takes action?

Helen Lamoela, Shadow Minister of Women, Youth, Children and People with Disabilities

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