South African’s femicide and gender-based violence awareness has undoubtedly spiked recently with several high-profile cases of rape and murder making local headlines for long periods and now the City of Cape Town is looking to increase meaningful social engagement with academics and professionals on the matter.
At the launch of the 16 Days of Activism for Violence against Women and Children campaign at the Witpoort police station in Limpopo on Monday, president Cyril Ramaphosa was reported by IOL as saying that the “crisis of violence against women and children is a great shame on our nation” and that the violence perpetrated against women by South African men “goes against our African values and everything we stand for as a people.”
“We grew up being taught that as men and boys we must respect women and protect children. We were taught to never, ever raise your hand against a woman. But we have lost our way,” president Ramaphosa reportedly said.
Over the past weekend, Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato also made an announcement that he’s allocating R2 million to establish teams which he hopes will aid in the battle against gender-based violence in the city’s most violent and vulnerable communities.
“Looking at the statistics of gender-based violence across South Africa and in particular Cape Town, the City, as a big metro, cannot stand idly by and do nothing about this case,” said Plato.
“We are a part of government as a whole and I am well aware of the fact that in the past there were many programmes and projects and attempts…these did not work or provide us with the desired effect but we can’t do nothing, we need to attempt and always try to come up with new ideas.”
Plato says that the idea emanates from feedback from his outreach programmes in communities, “where communities were of the opinion that people educated on the topics aren’t seen in the communities enough.”
“At the end of the day it’s a dramatic attempt to knock on doors, with religious leaders across the spectrum, to talk with people and have workshops with them… We’re not saying it will work but it might give us some answers and new ideas of what to do next because engagement is always a good thing and provides those affected with the opportunity to talk to people who are learned in these fields.”
“We cannot leave our communities on their own and that’s why we asked, negotiated and had meetings with educated people to get them on board to avail their time and to do the necessary in communities where people live.”
Plato explained that the programme is essentially a means of simply trying to find solutions and gain insight into where resources must be channelled and what government can provide to vulnerable communities. He has also raised the possibility that the budget for the programme could increase, depending on the requirements and if it is found that the allocated R2 million is insufficient.
The City has identified the 10-15 worst gender-based violence stricken communities in the metro and is looking at rolling this programme out only in those falling in these ranks. All other projects and programmes addressing gender-based violence will continue undisturbed by the new programme, which is set to commence in 2020.
“At the end of the day, we as men need to step up and take a firm stand. Men are responsible for all these atrocities against women and children,” said Plato.