19 February 2013

South Africa: CGE's Response to Court Proceedings - Oscar Pistorius

Photo: BackpagePix
Oscar Pistorius made history when he joined the men's 400m heats as the first amputee to take part in an Olympics track event.

press release

The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) has noted that Mr Oscar Pistorius is currently charged under schedule 6 of the Criminal Procedural Act as Amended. The Magistrate Mr Desmond Nair has indicated that Mr Pistorius and his legal team have to prove extra-ordinary circumstances in mitigation for the reducing of the section under which he is currently charged.

The onus therefore is upon him to impress the court for schedule 6 that says that the murder was premeditated to schedule 5 that indicates murder. As the Commission, we call upon South Africans across all races, class and gender "to wake up" and truly address the underlying factors that see an upsurge in violence crimes in South Africa. Gender-based violence affects us all, henceforth not only the responsibility of women or men but both women and men alike.

The CGE has also learnt of the private ceremony held for Ms Reeva Steenkamp, hence we send our deepest sympathy and trust that her soul will rest in perfect peace. We will continue to offer our support to the family and other families, who have lost their loved ones due to the scourge of gender-based violence.

As the South African delegation ascends to the 57th United Nations Conference on the Status of Women (CSW) from the 4 -15 March 2013, all eyes would be on South Africa. In one of the side event, the CGE would be dealing with issues pertaining to gender-based and questions are bound to be asked about the violent nature of our society. UN Resolution 1325 as promulgated calls for peace in our homes and the world and Mr Pistorius's case won't be making matters easier for the delegation. It is therefore prudent that we begin holistically to address issues of gun ownership in relation to the death of Ms Steenkamp and other victims.

The Commission for Gender Equality is also cognisant that there is an uphill battle in addressing issues of patriarchy that seems to be the cornerstone of our violent society. We need consented efforts in addressing issues of masculinity and patriarchy in order to help nip the gender-based scourge in the bud. The Chairperson, Mr Mfanozelwe Shozi and the Deputy Chairperson, Ms Thoko Mpumlwana will continue to monitor the case.

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