Deputy Minister of Correctional Services Phathekile Holomisa is challenging men to do more to help curb the scourge of gender-based violence (GBV) and femicide in society.
Holomisa was addressing people at a National Male Conversation Seminar on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide in Pietermaritzburg.
The dialogue is aimed at finding solutions to the scourge of violence in the country. The dialogue, that brought together people from all walks of life, aims to find new ways of addressing GBV.
Sixolile Mbalo is a survivor of GBV. Her partner shot her, beat her and then threw her into a pit toilet to die. Although the man was sentenced to life imprisonment, Mbalo says she is left with permanent scars.
“I tried to crawl from that pit toilet but I couldn’t walk or talk. I tried to get help to go to the hospital. I spent almost two months in hospital. Unfortunately, they could not remove the bullet. I then went to prison where my abuser was but I was disappointed because he did not show remorse.”
GBV stats in SA:
35-year-old Ndumiso Khwela, who is a former teacher, is serving a life sentence in the Pietermaritzburg prison. He was sentenced in 2014 for killing his former girlfriend after discovering that she was cheating on him.
Khwela says his actions have changed his whole life. “Men should stop killing women as they are unable to defend themselves. They should not kill children as well. It is very painful to hear in the news about these incidents. I have learned from my mistakes, this is wrong. These people are the future of the country. “
Finding solutions to the problem
Holomisa says men need to play an active role in addressing this problem.
“Some have been looking for excuses and trying to find possible causes, asking why men have become the enemies of society. There is no need for such a futile exercise, be it rape and other forms of violence against women, none can ever be justifiable men. Men must drive the agenda in instilling the principles of equality, human rights and respect in the upbringing of boys and girls and for men to commit their families, friends and peers to the reversal of toxic masculinity .”
Holomisa has encouraged traditional leaders and community members to intervene when they witness gender-based violence.
“This notion of saying it’s a household matter, therefore, I cannot intervene is pure nonsense and rubbish. Such can only empower the perpetrator. In the institution of traditional leadership, royals continue to be a pivotal part of the social structure. We expect traditional leaders also to play a meaningful role in the fight against gender-based violence.”
The three-day dialogue will conclude on Friday.