Minister for Women Children and Persons with Disabilities Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has declared Sunday, 8 September as a day of prayer and a moment of silence in honour of women and children killed in South Africa.

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane and her Justice and Constitutional Development counterpart Ronald Lamola, along with Deputy Social Development Minister Henrietta Bogopane-Zulu were addressing the media in Cape Town on recent incidents of gender-based violence and femicide.

She said the attacks on women represented a lack of respect and failure to recognise the inherent equality and dignity of women.

The minister added that Sunday would be used as a day of reflection and that regarding violence against women and encouraged people from all walks of life and different religious organisations to “get together and make sure that this indeed comes to an end.”

Meanwhile, the ANC Women’s League has accused government of being “lukewarm” when it comes to dealing with issues of violence against women and children.

Secretary General, Meokgo Matuba has called for a National Day of mourning on Wednesday, and a stay away on Monday next week, to highlight the plight of women in the country.

The Women’s League held a media briefing at the ANC headquarters, Luthuli House in Johannesburg earlier on Tuesday evening.

Matuba says, “Our government is lukewarm and gives perpetrators a slap on the hand to those who abuse women. The State should enforce harsher sentences for violence against women and children, which should include the following: no bail for perpetrators of violence against children and women, life sentence for perpetrators of gender-based violence.”