As the country celebrates Women’s Day, President Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed sadness that more women and children are being abused and losing their lives at the hands of men.
The President says this year, South Africa is in the grip of two pandemics – the coronavirus pandemic and the scourge of gender-based violence (GBV).
The 2020 National Women’s Day theme is Generation Equality: Realising women’s rights for an equal future.
Addressing this year’s celebrations on Sunday, Ramaphosa says the country can no longer ignore the deafening cries of women and children for protection, for help and for justice.
“It cannot be that this Women’s Day is drenched in the tears of families who have lost their sisters, daughters and mothers to violence perpetrated by men. It cannot continue,” says President Ramaphosa.
The video below, the live stream of the President’s address:
In recent months, the country has seen an increase in the murder of women and children.
According to Police Minister Bheki Cele, just after a week into the lockdown, more than 87 000 cases of gender-based violence were reported in the country.
During the release of the crime statistics, the Minister announced that sexual offences and rape have increased by 1.7%.
The President says the country has taken concrete actions to provide greater support and care to survivors of gender-based violence.
“We have increased the number of shelters and care centres for survivors and improved the capacity of our police to deal with crimes of sexual violence. We have made important progress in reforming our laws to give greater protection to survivors of domestic and sexual violence,” explains Ramaphosa.
According to the President, the country has a National Strategic Plan, which among other things aims to promote women’s economic inclusion.
Ramaphosa says the country now has an opportunity to build a country in which women’s right to dignity, security, safety and protection will be non-negotiable.
Click on the document below to read the President’s full address: