IFP Women’s Brigade National Chairperson,
Princess Phumzile Buthelezi MPL,
073 216 0918
The IFP Women’s Brigade condemn the assault of pregnant Shoprite cashier Zimkhitha Xhalabile who was assaulted by a male customer in Shoprite in Strand.
Zimkhitha Xhalabile from New Village in Nomzamo, Strand is eight months pregnant. She had just closed her till in the Shoprite in Broadway Mall, Lwandle, on 9 September, when a customer demanded that he be assisted.
As the IFPWB we are against any form of women abuse. Violence against women is on the increase in South Africa despite the presence of laws and policies to protect victims and survivors. Therefore, we call on the police to work around the clock to apprehend the suspect. Violence against women goes beyond beatings. It includes forced marriage, dowry-related violence, marital rape, sexual harassment, intimidation at work and in educational institutions, forced pregnancy, forced abortion, forced sterilization, trafficking and forced prostitution.
We call for the enforcement of laws that protect women in this country. Putting laws on the paper is not enough. Law enforcement and court mechanisms also have to be made friendly and accessible to women. The IFPWB believes that there is a need to ensure that all those who respond to violence against women — whether they are police officers, judges, lawyers, immigration officials, medical personnel or social workers — are sensitized and trained to provide a response that is compassionate and comprehensive.
It is the responsibility of governments and society as a whole to condemn violence against women and to take action to eliminate it. In addressing the scourge of high levels of violence against women and girls, the IFPWB urge government to initiate and advocate for high-level campaigns focusing on fundamental root causes of Violence Against women and girls and targeting the family, focusing on socialisation and encouraging traditional and religious leaders to intensify their efforts in the fight against Violence Against Women and Girls.
Government must put in place a system of data collection to register systematically every alleged case of gender-based violence, the prosecution and the definitive condemnations pronounced and widely publish this data. Clear directive must be given to the police, and other branches of the security forces and provide sanctions for those in charge of law enforcement who hinder or delay the investigation or proceedings against the perpetrators of violence against women. Law enforcement leadership must set up an independent mechanism of control to ensure that independent and impartial investigations can deal promptly with allegations about policemen who failed to duly investigate cases of rape or other types of gender-based violence.
The recruitment and training of law enforcement, judicial personnel must be improved and also increase the number of women within the police and the judiciary.
The IFPWB believes that all of us we have a responsibility to eradicate women abuse. Collaboration and coordination between stakeholders, and between government is critical at all levels, to avoid second traumatisation of gender-based violence against women survivors. Cross-sector collaboration along the long chain of legal and medical support to survivors of gender-based violence against women is key to realising women and girls’ rights to protection from gender-based violence against women and their access to justice.