Gender-based violence and femicide petition to be handed over at Union Buildings

30 August 2021 - 09:38
By suthentira govender AND Suthentira Govender
The petition highlights soaring rates of gender-based violence and femicide in SA. Stock image.
Image: ALON SKUY The petition highlights soaring rates of gender-based violence and femicide in SA. Stock image.

A petition containing more than 28,000 signatures and questioning government’s “lack of political will” to eradicate gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) in SA will be handed to the Office of the Presidency at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Monday.

Spearheaded by advocacy group The Embrace Project and, the petition highlights “soaring rates of gender-based violence and femicide in SA which have grown increasingly gruesome and more tragic in this Women’s Month”.

The Embrace Project said the petition “asks the president to explain and respond to the government’s lack of political will to truly eradicate GBVF despite promises of legislative reforms and targeted policies”.

“The petition hand over will be symbolic and in honour of the 20,000 South African women who marched on the Union Buildings on August 9 1956 to hand over a petition of their own. In that way we continue the fight for the freedom of South African women.

“The Office of the Presidency has thus far attempted to redirect a letter associated with this petition, sent to it on August 9 2021 (Women’s Day), to the department of women, youth and persons with disabilities.

“The Embrace Project, in response, motivated why the president is the appropriate functionary: mainly because the response to GBVF is a national priority that warrants the attention of the head of state, but also because there has been a failure to implement policies such as the National Strategic Plan on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide, the Emergency Response Action Plan, and the GBVF Response Fund (which has not disbursed a cent of the money allocated to it) that emanate from the Office of the Presidency.

“The Office of the Presidency has undertaken to consider our motivation only after the hand over of the petition. The answer received will, in itself, be an indicator of the existence of the political will to tackle GBVF.”

In February, President Cyril Ramaphosa launched the Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Response Fund 1 with R128m pledged by companies and organised business. This was to support the implementation of the National Strategic Plan, he said, which was to become SA’s road map to ending GBVF.