Open letter to South Africa’s students‚ universities and government‚ represented by Minister in the .
Umsunduzi mayor Zanele Hlatshwayo has launched a scathing attack on men, calling them "cowards".
Speaking at the weekend during the official launch of a crime prevention programme in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, Hlatshwayo criticised men for not protecting women.
"Today's men and brothers are cowards. They don't protect those who are vulnerable, especially women and children," she said.
"If each brother protects his sister, and each father protects his daughter and wife, the rapes of children and women could decrease dramatically," Hlatshwayo said.
She said that when she grew up, any "father figure" she came across on her way to school would play guardian, but today it was a different case.
"As a child growing up in a society that respected and protected children, I would trail behind any male figure for protection, but today that person can turn into a monster and rape you.
"Where have all the real men gone?" she asked.
She said children were often safer in the company of strangers than their own fathers, brothers or uncles.
"It is up to you as a community to play a role in protecting your own children, mothers and grandmothers.
"Police could never do it alone," she said.
KwaZulu-Natal Premier S'bu Ndebele shared Hlatshwayo's sentiments, saying in his heyday no one could enter their school and assault a girl, whether she was his girlfriend or not.
"But today any person can enter the school and rape, assault and even kill teachers, with boys watching.
"What has happened to a male who believed in the principle of sisterhood or motherhood?
"We need to come out of this cowardice and start acting like real men," he said.
The justice, crime prevention and security cluster is a crime prevention programme whose purpose is to include all the stakeholders, such as the departments of Justice, Correctional Services and Defense, to work together in fighting crime.