Saturday, 13 June 2020 14:23

Photo Credit:Ashraf Hendricks.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has described the brutal killings of several women in the country as a dark and shameful week for the nation.

Since the country entered coronavirus (Covid-19) alert level 3 there has been a surge in GBV and femicide, the Presidency said in a statement.

“It is a dark and shameful week for us as a nation. Criminals have descended to even greater depths of cruelty and callousness. It simply cannot continue,” Ramaphosa said in the statement.

“We note with disgust that at a time when the country is facing the gravest of threats from the pandemic, violent men are taking advantage of the eased restrictions on movement to attack women and children.

“As we still struggle to come to terms with the brutality inflicted on Tshegofatso Pule, Naledi Phangindawo, Nompumelelo Tshaka, and other women in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal whose bodies were found dumped this week, another woman has lost her life,” Ramaphosa said.

The manner in which these defenceless women were killed pointed to an unconscionable level of barbarism and lack of humanity.

“According to the SAPS, there has been an increase in violent crime, especially murders, since we entered alert level 3. We need to understand what factors are fuelling this terrible trend and, as society as a whole, address them urgently,” Ramaphosa said.

The president is deploying ministers and deputy ministers to meet with community leaders around the country as part of national efforts to combat Covid-19. During these visits they will be engaging with communities on this upsurge in gender-based violence, Ramaphosa said.

"In far too many cases of gender-based violence, the perpetrators are known to the victim, but they are also known to our communities. That is why we say this is a societal matter, and not a matter of law enforcement alone. Gender-based violence thrives in a climate of silence.

"With our silence, by looking the other way because we believe it is a personal or family matter, we become complicit in this most insidious of crimes," Ramaphosa said.