Women still dying at hands of partners

University of Fort Hare students marching outside the East London campus on Wednesday to highlight the issue of gender-based violence./SINO MAJANGAZA
University of Fort Hare students marching outside the East London campus on Wednesday to highlight the issue of gender-based violence./SINO MAJANGAZA

Advocates for justice to end femicide have raised concern as more women are still dying with protection orders in their hands.

Last year, President Cyril Ramaphosa declared that gender-based violence (GBV) is now a national crisis.

However, #TheTotalShutdown activist Loyiso Saliso said nothing much has been done to address gender-based violence. She said they didn't have much to celebrate during Women's Month.

"Every single day women and children are violated by men because there are no consequences. There are police who are trained to handle the GBV cases but women are still dying with protection orders in their hands," Saliso said.

#TheTotalShutdown campaign successfully lobbied Ramaphosa to convene a summit and implement policies to end violence against women and children. Saliso said even though a structure to tackle gender-based violence was developed, there are still budgetary issues.

"We still have a lot of questions for the president as there are demands that he did not meet when we handed to him the 24 steps to stop GBV.

"Promises were made to release the women who are behind bars for killing their abusive husbands, but nothing has happened so far. Things have not changed. We still have a lot of work to do. There is not much effort from the government to fight this scourge," Saliso said.

Dr Nthabiseng Moleko, a commissioner at the Commission for Gender Equality, said violence against women and children had heightened over the past decade with the femicide rate in SA now five times higher than the global average.

"'It is of utmost importance that we establish both policy and institutional responses to measure and effectively reduce the incidence of GBV," Moleko said.

"Resources should be allocated to finance a team of statisticians and researchers within the department of women, youth and persons with disabilities working in collaboration with the auditor-general, the department of planning, monitoring and evaluation, Statistics SA, and the Commission for Gender Equality, to ensure that targets are effectively monitored and that performance is evaluated with measurable indicators."

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