Rhoda Kadalie
3 minute read
4 Aug 2017
5:35 am

Women’s safety in SA? Oh, please

Rhoda Kadalie

Virtually nothing has been done since 1994 to keep women and even the men they love safe.

A projection reading "Stop Violence against Women" illuminates Rome's Campidoglio on November 25, 2013 as part of the International Day to End Violence Against Women

Faced by astronomical debt and a near-bankrupt state, due mainly to high levels of corruption, the ruling party is threatening more increases in taxes to an already overburdened, overtaxed public.

We pay taxes for public services such as criminal justice, public transport, healthcare, sanitation and education but get very little in return.

In this Women’s Month virtually nothing has been done since 1994 to promote the advancement of women.

Despite the adoption of excellent laws against sexual and domestic violence, attempts to reduce crimes against women and girls have not materialised.

Bludgeoned to numbness by the constant reporting of the most heinous of crimes perpetrated against females, as a country we seem clueless about addressing the problem.

Add to that the farm murders, where criminals specifically target the killing of farmers, their wives are often brutalised by the most vicious attacks imaginable.

On July 3, News24 revealed that a farmer’s wife, Elsa Erasmus, a church secretary, was possibly raped and murdered on her farm in Schweizer-Reneke after she placed flowers on the grave of her husband who had died of a heart attack three years earlier.

Despite her husband’s death, she would not leave the farm, which was, ironically, her safe haven.

That same report alerted to three other farm murders in Sannieshof, North West, where farmers were murdered and their wives savagely assaulted and/or killed.

More recently, on a sugar farm near Ballito in KwaZulu-Natal, an 83-year-old farmer, Bob Gawler, was shot to death.

His 74-year-old wife, Denise, recuperating from knee surgery, was tied up, while she heard the three robbers force her husband to open the safe; they took his gun, shot him dead and escaped with their bakkie.

In June, late at night, another farmer, aged 67, was attacked and his wife seriously injured, on Cheerio Farm, Haenertsburg, Limpopo.

They ended up in hospital where the husband died. These are examples of the raft of hundreds of farm murders perpetrated in 2017 alone.

Most newspapers report that the suspects had not been apprehended. The point is that an essential aspect of public services is to protect its citizens, of which the farming community is key.

Government has simply failed to do so. The lack of political will is palpably demonstrated by their ignorance about the role of farmers as the producers of food security.

Viewed as the enemy in the “land dispossession” narrative, exemplified by the Black First Land First villains, many farmers have migrated to other parts of the continent, where they enjoy more protection in politically less stable states.

In South Africa, unhappiness with government is democratised across all classes of people.

Government is not responsive to the needs of the poor, services are not delivered with integrity – one of which is to protect the public, women and children in particular.

Despite the 16 days of activism and August 9, very little is done to achieve visible decreases in crimes against women.

The ANC’s inward focus on its own narcissistic power struggles has blinded it to the struggles of women to survive the onslaught of violence against them.

FILE PICTURE: Rhoda Kadalie, anti-apartheid activist.

FILE PICTURE: Rhoda Kadalie, anti-apartheid activist.