Sunday, 08 September 2019 11:35

President Cyril Ramaphosa has admitted the country is facing a national crisis of violence against women.

“We are reviewing laws on domestic violence and sexual offences to prioritise the needs and interests of survivors,” Ramaphosa said.

“We are going to overhaul and modernise the national register of gender-based violence offenders provided for in the sexual offences act to ensure it is effective in combating gender-based violence."

He has also promised 11 new courts, a review on cold cases and harsher penalties for perpetrators.

The South African-born Hollywood actor Charlize Theron has also spoken out against violence against women in the country. Responding to a tweet that shared a 1999 advertisement in which she starred as part of an anti-rape campaign, Theron said the justice system had failed women.

“When I made this ad in 1999 I hoped things would change. They have not. Rape and femicide are still a huge epidemics in South Africa and clearly the system has failed women. Our leaders can’t continue to turn a blind eye, as they did with this ad,” she said.

She also urged men to call out potential perpetrators. “To the men in my home country – please protect our women. Stand up. Speak up. Do not be bystanders. Call out your fellow man when you see him going down a dangerous path. You have the power to change this,” she said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has since addressed the nation in a televised speech, revealing the government's plan to tackle the issues.