Remarks for Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe on the occasion to mark the end of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign
10 December 2012
Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, Lulu Xingwana;
Premier of the North West Province, Ms. Thandi Modise;
District Executive Mayor, Clr. Louis Diremelo;
The Executive Mayor, Clr. Mpho Khunou;
Members of the Provincial Executive Council;
Representatives of Civil Society organised labour and other social partners;
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Thank you for inviting me to address you on this 16th Day of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children.
The last of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children is indeed important as we take stock and measure progress made in our daily programme to achieve a violence free society— particularly for women and children.
Indeed we must by no means see the end of these 16 days as an end to our efforts against this scourge but should be mindful that this type of violence takes place on an on-going and daily basis.
While incidents of battery, domestic violence and child abuse often go undetected or under reported, statistics over the years have shown that:
• 90% of the women have experienced emotional and physical abuse.
• 71% have experienced sexual abuse
• 58% have experienced economic abuse
• 60% of all cases of abuse are committed by partners, lovers or spouses.
• 63% of women view emotional abuse as more prevalent and as the most serious.
• Young women are more susceptible to assault and sexual coercion by partners and others.
• As many as 5 out of 7 children are abused
These high rates of violence are the clearest indication that more still needs to be done, necessitating that we sustain these efforts beyond the calendar and awareness programmes throughout the year.
Ladies and gentlemen;
Upon launching this year’s 16 Days of Activism Campaign, the Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities called on all sectors of society to unite in guarding against the abuse of women and children, including those made vulnerable as a result of stigma and prejudice.
I am pleased that this Campaign continues to focus the attention of all sectors of society on this critical matter which has a profound impact on the lives of those affected and undermines our vision for a non-sexist, non-racial society and a South Africa that is free of violence, inequities, abuse and discrimination.
At this moment, allow me to acknowledge the presence in our midst of the bikers who have just completed a tour of SADC countries and have joined us today.
Gentlemen, let me salute you for taking the time and resources to raise awareness on violence against women and children.
Indeed you did not turn a blind eye, but took action to demonstrate solidarity, not only in our country but at a regional and global level. Your efforts provide a good platform for us to build on and today as we pause to assess the campaign, I would like to invite the entire country to applaud you.
I hope men across all sectors of society such as business, the faith-based community, traditional leaders, the entertainment sector, labour and other sectors, will take it upon themselves not to turn a blind eye, not to just talk against violence but to do something concrete and positive in their communities to contribute to the collective effort to build a society that protects and respects the rights of women and children.
Two weeks ago, when we marked International Men’s Day, I was encouraged by the pledge by men in many organisations, to strive towards becoming role models through behaviour and practices that uphold the dignity of young girls and women.
They also pledged to mentor young boys on their journey to adulthood, thus ensuring that we collectively address attitudes that undermine the well-being of young girls and women as well as other men and boys.
I am confident therefore that we are making progress in influencing men to stop treating women and children as objects of abuse and violence.
Our experience and understanding of the importance of human rights should enable us to build strong institutional and constitutional framework to protect such rights.
We all need to take responsibility to protect this framework, and at the same time implement programmes and interventions that contribute to the attainment of our vision of a caring and proud society.
The fact that we observe these ‘16 Days’ serves as the strongest sign that more still needs to be done by all of us to truly render this form of abuse obsolete and to ensure that violence has no place in a civilised and humane society.
That we continue to see, read about and witness violence and abuse within our homes and communities is an indictment against our nation.
As such we need to accelerate our efforts at transforming our society; this is a responsibility we share collectively and thus all have a role play in taking a stand against violence.
For our part as government we have been working with various stakeholders, continuously implementing and activating various institutional measures to:
• Roll out and sustain the advocacy initiatives to inform and raise awareness amongst communities,
• Develop strategies and interventions to address weaknesses within the system that seeks to support those whose rights have been violated, and
• Create the necessary conditions for citizens to contribute and partner with implementing agencies to make a difference and turn the tide against these types of violations.
A community-centred approach is an essential cornerstone of our efforts to break the cycle of recurring violence, the abuse of children’s rights and attacks on the vulnerable groups within our society, including sexual and other forms of abuse.
We commend the extraordinary work done by organisations and agencies such as Lifeline, Childline, AIDS Help Line, Crime Stop, Stop Gender-Based Violence, Sonke Gender Justice, People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA), the Men, Women, Children, Disability and LGBT Sectors, which forms part of the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC), and many others in providing some level of support to those in need.
We are cognisant of the fact that there are limitations in some of the crucial legislative and policy frameworks, hence the review being undertaken by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development to address any inconsistencies in our legal framework.
These include the Child Justice National Policy Framework, the Restorative Justice National Policy Framework and the Social Crime Prevention Strategy.
Improving our coordination and strategic responses across the various sectors will require closer ties and partnership with those tasked to monitor our implementation programme. For this reason the Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities will be establishing a National Council Against Gender-Based Violence.
The Minister is also finalising the institutional arrangements which will govern the Council’s work.
This is indeed a positive step that will allow us to work in unison and in a coordinated fashion.
We are very mindful, however, that the problem of the abuse of women and children can never be confined to specific Campaigns and commemorative Days.
It is in our power and within our means as individuals, even in the smallest of ways, to contribute to the fight against the abuse of women and children on a daily basis. All of us should do all in our might to build a society that is safe.
The prevalent abuse of women and children in our country affects all of us in different ways and therefore none of us can rest easy when such anti- social activities.
Every incident of abuse suffered by a woman or a child reflects our failure to respond to the cries of the vulnerable.
The 16 Days Campaign reminds us never to be complacent or indifferent but to intensify our efforts in fighting the abuse of women and children.
Today we must reflect on what it is we are doing or not doing in promoting and protecting the rights of women and children in our society.
Today we must all renew our pledge and commitment to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all women, children and the vulnerable.
We salute all those who have taken it upon themselves to fight for the rights of the vulnerable groups. Their efforts have not gone unnoticed and are an immense contribution to the greater good of society.
Not in our name, stop now.
I thank you.