Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola says the fight against the scourge of gender-based violence should start within families. Lamola was among government officials accepting a petition from the #Actnow Men Movement in Pretoria.

Supporters of the movement marched from Johannesburg to Pretoria, highlighting the scourge perpetuated mainly by men on women and children.

Lamola says he is encouraged by the number of young men who took part in the march.

“The fight against gender-based violence and patriarchy starts in the family. It starts in our communities. It starts with us and the biggest protection order we can provide as society to women and children should come from, firstly, that architect of society which is the family and I am very grateful that I see a lot of young ones here so that we can build a bright future for them. A future free of this violence,”  Lamola told the crowd.

In the video below, Men’s Movement hands over petition to the Presidency:

 

Use strength to protect not harm

Deputy Minister for Social Development Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu has called for violence against women and children to no longer be called gender-based violence.

She was speaking during a Father’s Day Virtual National Men’s Dialogue hosted by Parliament. Other speakers at the dialogue called for men to take more responsibility for the protection of women and children. It was co-chaired by Actor Patrick Shai and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Lechesa Tsenoli.

Bogopane-Zulu says men need to be the ones who lead the fight

“I don’t think we should continue to call this gender-based violence because gender represents both men and women. We must call it what it is. Violence against women and children. We must call it femicide. Call it by it name. Actually it’s gone beyond a pandemic. It’s now genocide,”  says Bogopane-Zulu.

Deputy chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, Sylvia Lucas said gender-based violence is an impediment against development.

“GBV femicide is huge barrier to attaining sustainable development, economic growth and stable communities. We need a paradigm shift that will assist us to decrease and eventually end this kind of violence,” says Lucas.

Deputy Minister of Health, Joe Phaahla says the recent murders of women since the relaxation of the COVID-19 lockdown have shocked the nation. He called on parents to instill good values in their children.

“It is up to us as fathers to instill value of citizenry in our children. It is up to us to say to our daughters, don’t let images you see in the media define your worth. Your worth is beyond materialism. It is up to us to tell our sons that some media may glorify violence, but in our household achievement is measured according to achievement, to self respect and strong family values,” says Phaahla.

Craig Wilkinson from the organisation Father the Nation, said men can either do nothing with their strength, misuse it or use positively. He says if men use their strength for good, there would be no gender-based violence.

“Men should be taught to use their strength for the protection of women and children instead of harming them.”

In his address to the nation last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the victims weren’t statistics but people with names, families and friends. Commending police for arresting suspects in some of the recent cases, Ramaphosa also expressed confidence in the judiciary’s ability to deal with such matters that are before court.

According to the President, at least 21 women and children were murdered over the past few weeks.