South African parliament pledges to strengthen legislation against gender-based violence

Succession Laws

South Africa’s parliament on Monday joined a nationwide campaign against gender-based violence, pledging to strengthen legislation to end the scourge.

“We assure South Africans that we will continue to make strides in passing legislation that is aimed at ending this scourge and whose objective is to develop and empower women and children in our society,” said a statement jointly issued by the Presiding Officers of Parliament, led by Speaker of the National Assembly, Thandi Modise and Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, Amos Masondo.

The campaign, known as 16 Days of No Violence against Women and Children, was launched by Presdient Cyril Ramaphosa earlier in the day to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women which falls on November 25.

The campaigns aims to raise awareness of the negative impact that violence and abuse have on women and children and to rid the society of abuse permanently.

South Africa has seen a rise in gender-based violence in recent months during which dozens of femicides were reported.

This prompted Ramaphosa to call a joint sitting of Parliament on September 18 to respond to calls for action and announce an Emergency Action Plan aimed at strengthening measures and introducing new interventions in five principal areas — prevention of gender-based violence, strengthening of the criminal justice system, enhancement of the legal and policy framework to ensure adequate care, support and healing for victims of violence and improvement of the economic power of women in South Africa.

Parliament, through its constitutional obligation as an oversight authority, will monitor the implementation of the plan to ensure its full realization, said the parliamentary statement emailed to Xinhua.

Work has started in earnest to review the 1994 Women’s Charter to give greater protection to women and children, according to the statement.

“Every breadth and length of the country will be visited by Parliament to ensure that maximum participation happens in the provincial review consultation series,” the statement said.

The outcomes of the consultation process are to have legislation that will close existing gaps, further enhance good practice and pave way for a society free of any form of violence against women and children, the Presiding Officers said.

According to the 2018/2019 crime statistics, 2,771 women and over 1,000 children were murdered in South Africa. Every day the police received over 100 cases of reported rape.

These statistics paint a dire and gloomy picture of the status quo and cries for united action to confront and completely eliminate the scourge, the statement said.

“As the Presiding Officers, we say not in our name and lifetime shall women and children live in fear. The unity of our nation is paramount to ensure that perpetrators are squeezed out of the communities,” the statement said.

This will be attained if every man in this country stands up, not only in word but in action, it said. Enditem

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