President Cyril Ramaphosa has signed into law legislation aimed at strengthening efforts to end gender-based violence.
“The law will have a victim-centred focus approach on combating the dehumanising pandemic,” said Ramaphosa.
The president signed into law the following
– the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Bill;
– the Criminal and Related Matters Amendment Bill, and
– The Domestic Violence Amendment Bill.
“The enactment of legislation that protects victims of abuse and makes it more difficult for perpetrators to escape justice, is a major step forward in our efforts against this epidemic and in placing the rights and needs of victims at the centre of our interventions.
“This legislation demonstrates democracy at work. Civil society’s demands from the gates of Parliament were heard and listened to, and gave rise to our nation reaching a point where the demands of citizens are now cast in our law.
“We must now continue the task of preventing abuse from occurring in the first place. This task entails men and boys checking their own values and behaviours that cause them to regard women and girls as targets of control and abuse,” Ramaphosa said.
“It also entails building a society based on advancing fundamental human rights and dealing severely with people who violate others.”
Ward 81 councillor, Mpho Lewele last month, urged Sunnyside residents to fight against gender-based violence every day – and not only during the 16 days of activism against women and children abuse.
The 16 Days of Activism takes place annually from November 25 to December 10.
“We should not only talk about and fight against gender-based violence (GBV) during this time only,” Lewele said.
He said the South African government declared GBV as a “pandemic” owing to high levels of violence against women and children in the country, citing that coming up with effective strategies to fight it can significantly benefit the nation.
“The GBV pandemic is a thorn in the sides of most of us and I urged everyone in Sunnyside and the surroundings to come together and fight the scourge every day.”
He said long-term solutions, such as teaching boys to respect girls, were needed to win the battle against the “pandemic”.
“This needs to start with parents who should lead by example and teach their children to refrain from acts of abuse.”
He said children learn from abusive parents and later practice the same bad behaviour to their partners when they become adults.
“When parents fight at home, children copy such bad behaviour and end up thinking that it is a normal practice; yet is a dangerous act that could even lead to a loss of life.”
He said GBV was not a joke as many people had died at the hands of their abusers.
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