Debate on 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children

Dec 1, 2021 | Provincial (KZN/Gauteng), Speeches

By
Hon NJ Nkwanyana, MPL
KZN Legislature

Friday, 26 November 2021

Hon. Speaker,

Before I dwell on my  Debate Speech today on behalf of the INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY, I would like to condemn the scourge of kidnappings in the country, which includes children, as has been reported in Gauteng and Limpopo. The IFP urges law enforcement agencies and the justice system to ensure that anyone involved in the kidnapping and killing of children is severely punished. We urge parents to ensure that their children and loved ones are safe at all times.

As we debate 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children, it is disheartening that though we have been more vocal in our condemnation of violence against women and children, the truth is that very little progress has been made in halting violence against this section of our society. South Africa is still home to high levels of violence against its women and children, despite a world-renowned Constitution and a legislative overhaul that safeguards women's rights. We also debate this issue under difficult conditions of the Covid-19 Pandemic which forced the government to divert funds to the emergency response, impacting GBV programmes. However, the pandemic also brought socio-economic consequences that exacerbated GBV in the country.

The rise of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in South Africa - if not checked - will not only have permanent adverse effects on the lives of those affected (survivors) but also erode the country of much-needed human resources. GBV is preventable and therefore, it should be prevented. Negative social and gender norms have been identified as conduits for perpetuating almost all types of GBV in South Africa. The IFP believes that without attitudinal change among us all, we are fighting a losing battle. The IFP challenges everyone to do self-introspection and have a change of attitude, in order to eradicate GBV.

The global theme for 2021’s 16 Days Campaign is: “Orange the world: End violence against women now!”. The IFP has on numerous occasions stated that 16 Days are not enough to address GBV. The IFP believes that the fight against GBV must be a 365-day project. Society is incorrectly mobilised to pay attention to issues of women during Women’s Month and thereafter we carry on; the same has happened to the question of gender-based violence and women abuse. We only talk about it when there is a case and once the deceased has been buried, public debates are swept away into the dustbin of history. Furthermore, there is a tendency to only talk about GBV with commitment during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, only to stop when the calendar period lapses. We want to see the Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) Response Fund launched by President Ramaphosa, which has, to date, received some R141 million in pledges, fulfilling its mandate to address GBV, as many companies gave millions in donations to this Fund. The purpose of the Fund is to provide finances and the financial infrastructure required to implement the GBV Plan.

Moreover, the IFP is concerned about the recent Crime Stats, released by the Police Minister, Bheki Cele for the 1st quarter of 2021/2022, which revealed that 10 006 people were raped between April and June 2021. In addition to this, there is the issue of Inanda Police Station, which is once again KZN’s crime capital, with the highest number of reported cases of rape, sexual offences and murder, which is concerning. In this regard, serious questions have to be asked such as: what action has been taken by SAPS Management in KZN to address crime in Inanda because this is not the first time this police station has had the most crime cases? Urgent action must be taken to address crime in Inanda and urgent investigations must be conducted into why there is such a high rate of crime in Inanda. Criminals must be flushed out in Inanda and our communities must feel safe every time.

The IFP notes that the government of Kwa-Zulu Natal is tirelessly crossing the length and breadth of our province with programmes aimed fighting against GBV. But it feels that more still needs to be done to eradicate GBV. In such activities, all political parties represented in the KZN Legislature must be included. Such programmes must not be seen to be only for ANC members. We commend the Quality-of-Life Standing Committee for planning a series of programmes as part of the 16 days Campaign for 2021 but these programmes must not become a talk shop, they must yield positive results.

Sex Education
It is an undisputed fact that many children are subject to some form of gender-based violence, including mistreatment, bullying, psychological abuse and sexual harassment in or on the way to school. The IFP believes that a comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) curriculum to prevent gender-based violence is important and schools can play a pivotal role in stamping out gender-based violence. But, for many people, CSE is seen as taboo and remains a topic of contention. Educating young people is the only true, long-term solution to gender-based violence. However, it must be high-quality, age-appropriate, and evidence-based.

Contrary to what opponents of sexuality education often claim, CSE is not just about sex. When delivered well, it promotes health and wellbeing, respect for human rights and gender equality, and empowers children and young people to lead safe and productive lives. Notably, it teaches that all forms of gender-based violence are wrong, and a violation of human rights.

Domestic Violence
Domestic violence continues to be a deadly crime, a social menace, and a costly public health and economic problem. Most of the victims are women and children. The brutal killing of women and children, despite laws having been instituted to criminalise brutal behaviour and to improve the safety of women and children, shows that there is a need to move from policy to action, and to provide a stronger focus than ever before on prevention and early intervention to support women and children against this scourge. Abantu besifazane nabesilisa uma behlukumezeka emishadweni ababike noma baphume bangaze babulawe.

Poverty and Substance Abuse
As it is in many countries, the harsh reality is that women and children in SA are facing neglect, exploitation, abuse, are living in abject poverty and violence, which is harming the future and hope of the world. There is no excuse for blaming poverty and substance abuse for resorting to GBV. It is the duty of government to address poverty and drug abuse in our society.

Access to Justice
Our laws must have sharp teeth to bite. The IFP believes that GBV victims must have access to justice. Access to formal justice for women and children should be enhanced. More Thuthuzela Care Centres must be built. Every police station must have a desk that prioritises GBV victims. iQembu leNkatha linxusa izinkantolo ukuthi bonke abathinteka ezenzweni zokuhlukumeza abantu besifazane nezingane kufanele banikwe izigwebo ezinzima banganikwa ibheyili noshwele. GBV cases must be prioritised.

Role of Traditional Leaders on GBV
The IFP believes that Amakhosi are influential agents at community level and that they can play a significant role in eradicating GBV. They preside over different groups of people. Amakhosi are at the apex of traditional leadership in SA.

There are traditional court that deal with matters bordering on the abrogation of traditional laws. Traditional courts are critical structures, as well as custodians of traditional and cultural practices and customs in their traditional communities. However, there is need to strengthen these courts by including qualified individuals with legal backgrounds, who can provide advice when the court is presiding over some GBV cases, like sexual abuse. The IFP urges Amakhosi and Izinduna to be on the forefront of eradicating GBV in their respective areas.

NGOs on GBV
The IFP commends NGOs who are on the forefront in raising awareness about GBV and ensuring that GBV victims are protected and have access to justice. Government must offer more support to these NGOs.

GBV against Men
Nakuba sikhuluma ngokuhlukunyezwa kwabesifazane nezingane sinxusa nabantu besilisa ukuthi nabo abaphumele obala ngokuhlukunyezwa ngoba bakhona abesifazane abahlukumeza abesilisa. Ayiphele lento yokuthi naseziteshini zamaphoyisa amadoda uma eyobika ngokuhlukunyezwa kwawo bese ephendulwa ihlaya nasemphakathini. Bangakanani abesilisa asebanquma ukuzibulala ngoba besaba ukuphumela obala.

Closing
While it is the primary responsibility of government to provide strong leadership and a coordinated and integrated approach to tackling this scourge, reducing violence against women and children is a shared responsibility for all stakeholders in South Africa. This cannot be achieved by government alone. Ngakho-ke sonke asibe amanxusa okulwisana nodlame olubhekiswe kwabesifazane nezingane.

Ngiyathokoza!!!

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