Action Society actively supports the establishment of a council to deal with gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) in South Africa. A GBVF council is a step in the right direction but can only be successful if government has limited participation in such a council. If government is left to run such a council and are in charge of the finances and appointments it will just be another failed attempt plagued by corruption and political agendas. This council should be made up of civil rights oraganisations with support from the private sector Government must give such a council the mandate to take real action against GBVF on all levels ̶ from GBVF awareness training at schools to assisting with the investigation and prosecution process of GBVF cases.
“We encourage the Minister of Women in the Presidency, who accepted the memorandum from protesters taking part in the “Postoffice to Parliament” march on Saturday, to action the request as a priority. Our concern remains that government continues to pay lip service to citizens regarding their commitment to eradicate GBVF in our country,” says Elanie van der Walt, spokesperson for Action Society.
The president, together with International Women’s Forum of South Africa and social partners, launched the Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) Response Fund in February 2021 and at that stage approximately R128 million had been already pledged to the fund by the private sector. Since February there has not been any feedback regarding the GBVF response fund’s campaigns or progress. The only mention of the GBVF response fund was from the South African Police Services (SAPS), who confirmed that the private laboratories which have been appointed to clear the huge DNA backlog will be paid from this fund. As is the trend with government ̶ and specifically the SAPS under leadership of Bheki Cele – there is no urgency to actively fight the GBVF pandemic in South Africa and there is no accountability.
Van der Walt concludes: “Action Society would be honoured to be part of a GBVF council and we urge government to heed this call from civil society. The recent crime statistics has shown that the SAPS is in a state of disarray and losing the fight against crime in our country. Civil society needs to get a mandate from government, which will allow them to actively assist towards eradicating the scourge of GBVF in South Africa.
ISSUED BY: Action Society
DATE: 1 September 2021