Gauteng Community Safety MEC Faith Mazibuko says she will propose to the National Council of Provinces that some sections in the criminal justice system be reformed to help combat gender-based violence.

Mazibuko was addressing the launch of the provincial 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.

Statistics released recently by Police Minister Bheki Cele indicate that Gauteng ranks high when it comes to the number of crimes against women and children, with more than 50 000 cases reported in the 2018/19 financial year.

Belinda Radebe, who allegedly survived domestic abuse at the hands of her husband, says she had to rely on anti-depressants because of the depression she suffered because of her marriage.

However, she has advised women not to stay in toxic relationships. Radebe went to Non-Governmental Organisation Ikhaya Lethemba for help. She speaks of the difficulties she faced because she was also battling alcohol addiction.

“It was bit challenging, I ended up using anti-depressant because I was depressed. Now alcohol and cigarette, I don’t have money to fulfil that addiction. It was bit tough but then I got to adapt and understand what I am and live with what I had.”

Men’s Social Movement’s Khuluma Ndoda encourages men to be part of programmes aimed at curbing violence against women and children. The organisation’s Patrick Shai says men do not attend gatherings set up to discuss gender-based violence.

“It is very difficult to even celebrate today when we still have Ikhaya Lethemba receiving women on a daily basis. It therefore means we need more men to take a responsible position in the fight against gender-based violence. We need to make sure that in our campaigns we cultivate men who will stand up here so that we have a good legacy as men in South Africa that this narrative must cease to exist. I would love to see South Africa where women do not write such stories, but they are saying ‘I’m happy at home’, I’m living without fear.”

Women and Men Against Child Abuse advocacy manager Ngaa Murombedzi says the campaign should be intensified and made year-long.

“For the government to put this in place is an admission that there is something wrong in our society, that NGOs can come forward , strategise , engage and confront the social ills that result in women being abused and children being abused. We cannot denounce if it’s successful because its success, is only measured by what people bring to the table and that government responds to.”

Gauteng Community Safety MEC, Faith Mazibuko says some laws need to be amended to help combat such violence. “I’m proposing that we need to amend it because currently it only accommodates the victim who must go and open a case. But in other situations if you as a neighbour or an aunt or an uncle tries to go and open a case when you know that there is an abuse happening in that household, you are told it is none of your business,  they need the victim to be to actually come and be the one that opens the case.”

The Gauteng provincial government has lined up several programmes throughout the 16 days of the campaign to engage communities on the topic of violence against women and children.