Words won't end GBV, we need action

"The issue of GBV has been dealt with what I deem to be flippancy," the writer says.
"The issue of GBV has been dealt with what I deem to be flippancy," the writer says.
Image: Alon Skuy

Dear Mr President, I write to you today in regards to a matter that weighs so heavily on my heart. I would imagine that it weighs heavily on yours too, but your lack of immediate action to combat this issue makes me believe otherwise.

Mr President, the women and girls of this country are being smothered in a dark and sickening cloud of gender-based violence. So much so that it has become suffocating and frightening to be a woman in SA. The lack of sufficient action regarding an issue of this magnitude seriously concerns me as neglect of this particular issue has such deadly consequences.

Though I do appreciate your attempt to highlight the seriousness of this issue by labelling it a pandemic, the label itself will not fight the scourge... you need to do more. SA women need you to do more. The issue of GBV has been dealt with what I deem to be flippancy, and the only reason it has not been given the urgency it requires is because it does not affect the economy.

This point is proved by your handling of the coronavirus, which was quicker and met with urgency and immediate action, compared to your handling of GBV, which has been slow and less than impressive. The existence and importance of women seems to only matter when it is to your convenience – namely, only during elections.

Mr President, need I remind you that you swore to protect all SA citizens, yet thousands upon thousands of women are being hurt and killed in a country that is under your leadership. With all due respect, sir, you have not been a reliable ally in the struggle for liberation and the protection of the rights of women and children.

You have continuously dropped the ball on countless occasions, which has me wondering if you are the right man for the job. You seem to be unaware of your power and influence. You are in a position to offer so much more than just condolences and sympathy, you are the president. Recognise your power and use it accordingly.

Nomathemba Ngwenya, email

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