From strengthening policing to harsher sentences, MPs speak out against GBV

01 July 2020 - 08:44 By Cebelihle Bhengu
The Anti-GBV movement protested outside parliament in Cape Town on Tuesday.
The Anti-GBV movement protested outside parliament in Cape Town on Tuesday.
Image: Esa Alexander

On Tuesday MPs debated the scourge of gender-based violence (GBV).

The debate in parliament followed the recent murders of women across SA, including Naledi Phangindawo and Tshegofatso Pule, and the rapes of three women in the Midlands in KwaZulu-Natal.

Here are five critical points raised during the debate:

Good men must stand up - Natasha Mazzone 

The DA chief whip called on “good men” to take a stand against GBV, and for government to protect the dignity of women and children by tightening the laws.

Mazzone said: “Women are giving up because it seems there is no use reporting GBV. Men need to listen to us. Women are being chopped up, pregnant women are being murdered, little girls are having their bodies ripped apart by men who are raping them. We cannot continue like this. We are at war with ourselves.”

Flawed justice system — Kenneth Meshoe

The ACDP leader said government is not serious about fighting GBV, and called for transformation in the policing system.

Meshoe cited a recent incident in Khayelitsha, in which a woman was allegedly turned away at a police station when she went to report a rape,  as one of many incidents which prove the criminal justice system is failing women.

“A few days ago, these frustrations led to marches across the country, with calls to bring an end to violence and femicide. There are a number of incidents where rape survivors go to a police station to report their ordeal, only to be told 'go home, don't wash and come back the next day'.”

Do away with patriarchy — Patricia De Lille 

The public works minister  said parents and schools must play a central role in ensuring boys are not taught patriarchal values as these perpetuate gender stereotypes and subsequently GBV.

She said her department has allocated a number of properties towards assisting victims of domestic abuse.

“I've signed an allocation of 12 properties in Gauteng and the Western Cape for use as shelter for victims of GBV, with more properties in other provinces to follow. [On Wednesday] I will meet MECs to implore on them the urgency needed to make this work and have these properties used for abused women and children.”

Women killed in their homes during lockdown — Maite Nkoane-Mashabane

The minister of women, youth and persons with disabilities said more than 30 women were “slaughtered” in their homes during the lockdown.

Nkoane-Mashabane said government has established a number of interventions aimed at ending GBV.

They include “supplying more police stations with evidence collection kits, GBV and femicide training targeting law enforcement officials, and prosecutors and 600 new social workers were placed in communities to provide support”.

No bail for perpetrators — Veronica Mente

The EFF's national chairperson said the judiciary must not grant bail to perpetrators of GBV.

Mente said: “We need a legislative reinforcement to make sure perpetrators of violent crimes against women do not get bail.

“In the aftermath of the merciless killing of Uyinene Mrwetyana, President Cyril Ramaphosa promised that cabinet would introduce a legislative amendment to ensure there is no bail for perpetrators of GBV, and the sentences are tightened. Up to this day, no amendments have been introduced.”

The 'Anti-GBV Movement' saw about 200 protesters dressed in black voice their concerns against the treatment of women in SA on June 30 2020. Outside the gates of parliament in Cape Town, several women told their stories of being raped or assaulted by men. The protesters handed over a memorandum of demands to parliamentary officials.