PICS: Families of GBV victims march to demand safety for women, children
South Africans are forced to take matters into their own hands in order to protect their citizens, one of the marchers said.
#Justice For TshegoPule awareness campaign members outside Roodepoort police station in Johannesburg, June 2020, after the body of Tshegofatso Pule, eight months pregnant, was found hanging from a tree in an open veld by a community member in Durban Deep in Roodepoort. Picture: Ngel Sibanda
As gender-based violence keeps making headlines in the country, the families and relatives of victims marched to the Roodepoort police station yesterday, to hand over a memorandum of demands for the safety of women and children.
This came after the brutal murder of the pregnant Tshegofatso Pule, 28, who was found hanging from a tree in Johannesburg on Monday last week.
Her death stirred up many emotions among the families of victims of gender-based violence.
Holding up placards denouncing gender-based violence and calling for justice for Pule, the protesters sang of sorrow in the hope that perpetrators would hear their cry and that officials would enhance the protection of women and children.
Lesego van Niekerk explained she was tired of waking up to news about a woman or child who had been killed.
She said: “I am at the protest to raise awareness for my sisters who have not received justice, arrests and sentencing for those who have perpetrated against them.
“I urge South Africans to take a few minutes from their schedule and join the fight.”
South Africans were forced to take matters into their own hands in order to protect their citizens, she said. This was because the government lacked enforcement in safety and security to those who suffered from abuse.
The civil rights organisation, Action Society, launched the Know Your Neighbour campaign in the hope of strengthening the bond between communities to protect women and children. The campaign was launched during National Child Protection Week.
The society fought for justice for women and children who suffered from rape, domestic violence, femicide, child homicide and other related forms of violence.
Spokesperson Daleen Gouws said the organisation had raised concerns about the R1.6-billion plan to fight gender-based violence.
She said the mismanagement of the National Register of Sex Offenders (NRSO) list showed statistics that were inaccurate.
“Action Society wants to address the management and maintenance of the NRSO to protect our children from these perpetrators,” she said.
“Three Bills have been developed to tighten legislation relating to the granting of bail, the imposition of sentences and the protection afforded by the NRSO,” Gouws said.
“The department spent R5,255,421 on the register in 2010, but 10 years later there are only 1,660 names on the list.
“How is that possible? More than 50,000 child rapes took place from 2014 to 2017.”