The South African parliament must add critical changes to the proposed National Council on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Bill before Action Society will support it.
Action Society was invited to make an oral submission to parliament during the public hearings for this bill yesterday after we submitted a formal written proposal in May 2023.
Action Society had previously supported the council’s establishment on the condition that it had mandates or mechanisms to hold the police, the Department of Justice and the Department of Social Development to account.
Ian Cameron, Director of Community Safety at Action Society, said as it stands, the bill lacks a clear mandate or mechanism to increase convictions and preventative measures. He also highlighted the critical mandate to address corruption, inefficiency and other backlogs like DNA and forensics in SAPS.
“We question the Bill’s effectiveness in addressing the root cause of GBV and ensuring transparency, accountability and competency in the council,” said Cameron.
Action Society believes that if this Bill is passed, it must be a council of action, not just talk.
“We have many councils and commissions, but nothing much changes on the ground. The president declaring GBV a pandemic was nothing more than lip service,” he said.
“If he puts the same energy into GBV as he did with Covid, we would have a very different situation and a very different discussion today,” said Cameron.