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Gender based violence activists want less talk, more action

Activists say the killing of Tshegofatso Pule and other women has hit the sector hard.
Activists say the killing of Tshegofatso Pule and other women has hit the sector hard.
Image: Stock

Activists against gender- based violence have accused the government of paying lip service to the fight against the killing of women and children.

Mandisa Khanyile, director of Rise Up Against Gender Based Violence, said government has failed to implement some of the commitments made at the summit to tackle gender-based violence in 2018.

"It has been dismal. For me, you see a lot of lip service. We saw the launch of the campaign against gender-based violence taking place during the 16 Days of Activism."

She said that campaign was supposed to spawn a campaign similar to the fight against Aids. She said the government was yet to enact legislation for the establishment of the GBV councils and the GBV fund has not been set up.

Khanyile said the killing of Tshegofatso Pule and other women had hit the sector hard. "We are very demoralised as a sector now. We are in tears, to be honest. It feels like we wasted the past two years of incredible advocacy."

However, she said some progress was made on some of the commitments. The national strategic plan on gender-based violence has been finalised and sexual offences courts have been introduced.

Brenda Mdumise of #TotalShutDown said the recent wave of gender-based violence and femicide was a result of a broken criminal justice system. "Perpetrators continue to kill women because they know nothing will happen to them," Mdumise said.

Spokesperson of the department of women, children & people living with disabilities, Mmabatho Ramompi, said the government is taking gender-based violence seriously and there has been progress.

"There are harsher punishments for the perpetrator of gender-based violence... The steering committee that was appointed to come with an emergency response plan, they have developed the national strategic plan which was handed over to the president about a month ago."

She said the inter-ministerial committee on gender-based violence has been formed, and the process of appointing the GBV councils required civil society input.

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