President Cyril Ramaphosa stresses urgency in dealing with gender-based violence

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Ramaphosa addressed a gala dinner hosted by the South African Chapter of the International Association of Women Judges on Friday, as the nation observes Women’s Month.

As South Africa marks yet another Women’s Month this August, it continues to battle the scourge of gender-based violence in the country. A crisis that President Cyril Ramaphosa labeled the country’s second pandemic at the height of the global health crisis in 2020. And while strides have been made in containing the coronavirus pandemic, violent crimes committed against women and girls continue to plague South African society. A crisis Ramaphosa believes deserves equal attention.

“ If we were to qualify the impact of gender-based violence in terms of lives destroyed or lost, families torn apart, societies shattered, economic productivity lost, and state resources diverted, we would see that violence against women and children is a far greater crisis than most health emergencies we have faced,” said Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa was speaking on the back of the gang rape of eight women that gripped the nation in Krugersdorp in the west of Johannesburg last week. The President has implored law enforcement agencies to bring the perpetrators of gender-based violence to book.

“We are in the grip of what is no less than an unrelenting war on the bodies of the women and children of this country. The state has a constitutional and moral duty to protect against all forms of gender-based violence,” he said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Justice Designate, Mandisa Maya says South Africa’s current efforts to fight gender-based violence are not working. Maya also says the sentencing of perpetrators of gender-based violence still does not act as a deterrent for violent crime.

“South Africa has some of the most sophisticated laws against discrimination and violence in the world and yet gender-based violence worsens at an astronomical rate in the country. Our efforts to eliminate are simply not working. This has been mainly attributed to a lack of resources.

“We are only too familiar with stories of police stations having insufficient motor vehicles which their ability to visit crime scenes expeditiously and compromises the quality of their investigations real impact in society,” she said.

Deputy Chief Justice Maya will commence her official duties on the 1st of September.