Ramaphosa Q&A: No short-term solution to gender-based violence

Pieter Groenewald of Freedom Front Plus highlighted inaccuracies in gender-based violence statistics The post Ramaphosa Q&A: No short-term solution to gender-based violence appeared first on The Mail & Guardian.

Ramaphosa Q&A: No short-term solution to gender-based violence

President Cyril Ramphosa said on Thursday streamlined legal processes, such as increased sentences and tighter bail and parole conditions, had provided greater protection for women at risk of domestic violence.

Ramaphosa was answering a question from Freedom Front Plus member of parliament  Pieter Groenewald during a question and answer session in the National Assembly.

Groenewald had asked what steps the government had taken to put an end to violent crimes against women and children and why the number of murders of women and children since 1 January 2019 remained unreasonably high.

“Through specialised units like the NPA [National Prosecuting Authority] sexual offences and community affairs unit, the state has secured more convictions and longer sentences for perpetrators of violence against women and children,” Ramaphosa said.

He said the conviction rate for matters emanating from Thuthuzela Care Centres stood at  76.5%, up from 60% in 2010. The centres were introduced in 2006 as a critical part of the country’s anti-rape strategy, aiming to reduce victimisation and to help build cases which were ready for successful prosecution. 

“Various campaigns and initiatives seek to raise awareness on gender-based violence and promote gender equality. These efforts aim to challenge traditional norms and educate the public about the consequences of such violence,” Ramaphosa said.

He emphasised that ending gender-based violence (GBV) required a sustained multi-pronged approach.

“… An approach that includes all key role players and that should address the underlying structural issues in our society and changes in cultural norms and attitude. It is a long-term challenge that requires the commitment of not just political leaders but society as a whole,” the president said.

Groenewald also questioned the measure of success of the plans put forward to fight GBV, saying over the past five years, murders of women had increased by 23.5%. He said statistics from the police showed that, in the previous financial year, 3 422 women and 1 056 children had been murdered.

“Reclassification of the statistics above requires a thorough docket analysis as the numbers are not always accurately captured — this is the answer I got from the police when I enquired about the numbers of gender-based violence on different genders, races and age groups,” Groenewald said.

In response, Ramaphosa said South Africa was a big country and that with a police force whose numbers had been going down compared with the population, it was a challenge to get accurate statistics.

“We are working to improve even the measuring because it is something that I believe is important that we should have proper records, proper statistics so as to be able to see the progress that we are making,” the president said.

The post Ramaphosa Q&A: No short-term solution to gender-based violence appeared first on The Mail & Guardian.

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