WATCH | Ramaphosa 'appalled at the war being waged' on women in SA
President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced a host of measures to combat gender-based violence in the wake of protests against the increasing rate of rape and femicide in the country.
Addressing the nation in a prerecorded address on Thursday evening, Ramaphosa said government would overhaul and modernise the national sex offender register and he would ask parliament to consider amending the legislation to make the register public.
"I will propose to cabinet that all crimes against women and children should attract harsher minimum sentences. We agree with the women of the country that the state should oppose bail and parole for perpetrators of rape and murder against women and children," Ramaphosa said.
He committed that all spheres of his government would do more to help the victims of gender-based violence and to deal with its prevalence in society, saying he would use "every means at the disposal of the state" to deal with the matter.
"The minister of finance will be asked to allocate additional funding to the national machinery to coordinate our campaign against gender-based violence," Ramaphosa said.
His address came after thousands of women marched to parliament earlier on Thursday demanding he take action in the wake of rising violence against women.
"The collective anger and pain these killings have formed must strengthen our resolve to end all forms of violence and abuse perpetrated by men against women," Ramaphosa said.
He said that a man found guilty of violence against women and children, rape and murder should be imprisoned for life.
As part of plans to deal with the scourge of violence against women, Ramaphosa said law enforcement would re-examine cases that were not thoroughly investigated.
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"We will strengthen the emergency teams at a provincial level that bring together the police, social development, health, justice and education to continue providing a rapid and comprehensive response to all forms of violence against women," he said.
Ramaphosa further pledged to ask parliament to “discuss and identify urgent interventions that can be implemented without delay”.
"Violence against women is not a women’s problem. It is not a problem of what a woman said or did, what a woman was wearing, or where she was walking. Violence against women is a men’s problem. It is men who rape and kill women," the president said.
"Like millions of men across this country, I am appalled at the war being waged on our sisters, our mothers, our wives, our partners and our daughters," he said.