South Africa: Mutton Dressed As Lamb - Ramaphosa's Fight Against Gender-Based Violence in Times of Government Debilitation

President Cyril Ramaphosa in Parliament (file photo).

President Cyril Ramaphosa's 'emergency action plan' to end gender-based violence had little new or imaginative to rid South Africa of this blight. Wednesday's joint sitting was a PR play by the president to regain control of the optics in a difficult moment for the whole nation -- and Parliament provided the platform.

From the podium of the House came a presidential rehash that the state should oppose bail for rape accused and that a life jail term following a conviction for the rape or murder of a woman or child should be that -- life, not parole after 25 years. It's been said before, as has been the opening of new sexual offences courts.

A red herring was talk of finalising new legislation such as the Victim Support Services Bill "to strengthen support for gender-based violence programmes and services". Such a draft law is nowhere near Parliament. And the legislative pipeline from ministry to Cabinet approval, then departmental public hearings to another Cabinet approval before tabling in Parliament for its own legislative processes is extensive. It takes time; often several years.

But as President Cyril Ramaphosa walked the few metres from Wednesday's Cabinet meeting to Parliament, he seemed to want...

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