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Amnesty International SA welcomes anti-GBV law, but says implementation remains key

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Amnesty International South Africa said while it welcomed the signing of the new anti-gender-based violence (GBV) legislation, its implementation remained key.

President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the bill into law on Friday, together with legislation establishing the Independent Directorate (ID) permanently.

He said the bill would help bring an end to crimes committed against women and children in the country.

Introduced to Parliament in 2022, the bill aims to provide strategic leadership and coordinate the prevention and response to GBV and femicide.

The women’s rights advocacy group said the signing of the bill was a step in the right direction, but Amnesty International’s Genevieve Quintal said more resources are needed for the government’s strategic plan to work.

“We have seen that despite an already progressive legal landscape, rates of sexual and gender-based violence remain stagnantly high.

“Gendered power inequality, pervasive harmful patriarchal social norms, attitudes and beliefs, and a broken criminal justice system are contributing factors that drive and enable sexual and gender-based violence.”

GOVT STILL NEEDS SOCIETY’S SUPPORT, SAYS RAMAPHOSA 

Ramaphosa said the government would still need support from society as it moved towards implementing anti-gender-based violence legislation.

The president said that GBV was a pandemic that needs immediate attention from the government.

In the third quarter of 2023, close to 2,000 cases of GBV were recorded in South Africa, with over 1,500 cases of attempted murder involving women.

The president urged society to continue to play its role.

“I do believe now that we will continue to count on your support, as well as the support from labour and business in this all-of-society effort to combat the pandemic of gender-based violence.”


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