On the 02nd of September, South Africans woke up to the dreadful news that the missing University of Cape Town (UCT) student Uyinene Mrwetyana's lifeless body was found in Lingelethu West township. Her death brought back the spotlight on issues of gender-based violence and femicide that have gained prominence in South Africa.
Based on media reports and what transpired in the court where the alleged killer confessed, Uyinene was assaulted, raped and bludgeoned to death. Uyinene only wanted to access a parcel that was sent to her via the Post Office, unbeknown to her that the person who was supposed to render the service was to be her alleged killer. The CGE sends its heartfelt condolences to Mrwetyana's family and other victims and survivors of gender-based violence.
During the women's month, the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) used various mediums or platforms to highlight the worrying and increasing numbers of gender-based violence and femicide cases and other related atrocities. Through the CGE's outreach and legal clinics, the Commission was able to heighten awareness about various forms of abuse in a way of educating and also assisting those in need of free legal advice on issues such gender -based violence, maintenance, estates, domestic violence, rape and other gender related matters.
Through the Commission's court monitoring processes, we have observed with concern, long delays in prosecuting gender-based violence cases. The Commission has also observed that there are cases that have seen conclusion in an efficient manner without delays. The Commission hopes that the speed within which other recent cases have been resolved will also apply in her case. The same should also happen to cases that do not make it to the media.
The CGE calls for a re-think in addressing gender-based violence crimes. Perpetrators of these heinous crimes act with impunity. It is for this reason that the CGE calls for a strong concerted effort in addressing the scourge that according to World Health Organisation (WHO) it is almost five times than the global average. The CGE also supports the online petition calling for GBV to be regarded as a priority crime in South Africa.
The CGE once again calls on South Africans to join hands as part of the 365 Days of No Violence against Women to continue raising awareness and advocating against the scourge of gender-based violence. The CGE will be embarking on a campaign throughout the country engaging both boys and men about their role in ending gender-based violence which seems to be going on unabated. We hope through this campaign boys will grow up being reasonable citizens who respect human rights and understand that women's rights are also human rights.
Issued by: Commission for Gender Equality (CGE)
The Commission for Gender Equality is established in terms of Section 181 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa in order to promote respect for gender equality and the protection, development and attainment of gender equality.