Wednesday, 10 June 2020 09:47

Photo Credit:Ashraf Hendricks. 

The Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, has expressed shock at the brutal killing of two women in Cape Town and Johannesburg at the weekend.

Eight-month pregnant Tshegofatso Pule, 28, from Soweto was on Monday found hanging from a tree in Roodepoort after she was last seen alive on Thursday, 4 June. In Cape Town, Naledi Phangindawo, 25, was at the weekend allegedly heinously hacked to death by a man close to her. The suspect has since been arrested.

“According to a relative, it is alleged that Tshegofatso was last seen entering a cab called for her by her boyfriend last Thursday night. That was the last time she was seen alive.

“This is just saddening, and is a shame on our society. We should never allow gender-based violence to become a norm in our communities. How many more women, young girls and children must live with this constant fear of being attacked and violated? Women should not have to protect themselves from men.  They have the right to feel safe,” said Nkoana-Mashabane.

The ministry said the continuous brutal killing of women and children at the hands of those they love is despicable and deplorable.

“This calls for heightened responsiveness, greater awareness and practical measures to assist women who find themselves in vulnerable situations,” the ministry said.

As part of government’s constant intervention to fight GBV, the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) held its 2nd virtual meeting on 4 June 2020. 

“The main purpose of this meeting was to deliberate on processes for the establishment of the National Council for Gender Based Violence & Femicide, and will support the IMC to fast-track this work,” the ministry said.

The IMC comprises the Ministers of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Police; Finance; Justice and Correctional Services; Social Development, and Public Service and Administration.

The Minister said it is incumbent for the IMC to move with speed and urgently establish the National Council for Gender-Based Violence & Femicide, which will be tasked with the implementation of the National Strategic Plan (NSP) and take recommendations made at the 2018 Presidential Summit against GBVF forward.

The National Council will be an independent and non-partisan advisory body and will provide strategic leadership in implementing the NSP, facilitate resourcing, coordination and accountability in responding to GBVF. 

The NSP is government and civil society's multi-sectoral strategic framework to realise a South Africa free from gender-based violence and femicide. It  recognises  all  violence  against  women  –  across  age,  location,  disability,  sexual  orientation,  sexual  and gender identity, nationality and other diversities – as well as violence against children.

“Government will do everything possible to ensure justice is served and calls upon men in our society to stand up against GBV. Violence against women and children  is  unacceptable  and  we  should  not  allow  vile  tendencies  to  continue during such a difficult time for the country, or ever,” said Nkoana-Mashabane. 

She called for swift action on the part of SAPS to ensure the perpetrators are arrested, and for the Department of Justice and Correctional Services to ensure any person convicted on charges of gender-based violence is shown no leniency.