Address by Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka in Parliament
on 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children, 16 November
Our democratic South
Africa has to leave no stone unturned in dealing with the challenge of violence
against women and children. I am glad that we are having this debate to highlight
the issues and I,Äôm privileged to have the honour to open the debate
on 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign.
a poem called Liberation, Abena Buia says,"We are all mothers, and we have
that fire within us, of powerful women, whose spirits are so angry" When
they are disturbed, and you shall not escape, what we will make of the broken
pieces of our lives".
As South Africans we know the reality of the
impact of brutality from the police state we were subjected to, as women, men
and children, and whole communities. Our embrace of reconciliation is borne out
of our desire never to return to that state of affairs, too many bear the scars
and that is why we are resolute in our commitment to build a culture of peace
in our country, indeed our continent where all will be safe.
It is in this
spirit that South Africans, both the Government and our people have embraced the
United Nations (UN) campaign of No Violence Against Women, and with the Southern
African Development Community (SADC), have expanded the campaign to be the campaign
of No Violence Against Women and Children. Our people all over South Africa, men
and women, business, Government have embraced this noble campaign.
year, from 25 November to 10 December, Government joins with civil society in
the international campaign of 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women
and Children. This is our commitment to Friendship, Peace and Security not for
some but all particularly the most vulnerable.
We need to continue building
this partnership with civil society - Government alone cannot succeed in the fight
against women and child abuse. We need whistle blowers from within society and
we need caregivers to support and not isolate survivors and even we need prevention
Because most abuse cases take place in the home, families and communities
should assist in exposing offenders. In particular, we need families as first
line of defence. Women whose children are abused by step parents and relatives,
families whose makotis are beaten by husbands and boyfriends.
Men and boys
should learn that women and children should be protected and not abused. We need
our education system and social institutions to play a greater role.
the context of HIV/AIDS in our society where women, because of power relations,
bear the biggest burden and babies of positive women become casualties in gender
The tragedy of HIV/AIDS is one illness where infection
can happen even without the parties knowing. It has a stigma, the illness can
be draining to affected and infected and above all it creates orphans who live
to become vulnerable as children and adults and it is going to be us society who
must show care and take some responsibility.
Government is doing all it
can through the law and in other ways to fight violence against women and children
and we thank the partners who are making a sterling contribution but we need more.
Sexual Offences Bill broadens the definition of sexual violence and helps ensure
heavy sentences for convicted offenders. The public must feel the impact of this
Specialised training for police officers makes them more sensitive
in dealing with cases of violence against women and children, and it is important
and appreciated that police men and women have been trained.
There are now
40 sexual offences courts across South Africa and more are being set up. The campaign
has increased the awareness among the populace and this is evidenced by increased
reported incidents of abuse.
The Government has set up Thuthuzela Centres
that are aimed at reducing secondary victimisation.
Conviction rate in
the Thuthuzela Centres has improved to between 85 and 90% in those centres linked
to sexual offences courts. This is marked improvement as in normal sexual offences
courts is 63%.
The finalisation of cases cycle from reporting to conclusion
has been reduced to within six months. But let us be sure that every home is a
site of struggle and a place of safety for women and children so that a home is
truly a home! I urge you in the whole of South Africa in all the homes to speak
out and make that crucial decision. To abusers, you should seek help and own up.
Take that step now don't hurt another child or woman.
Everyone at home,
at school, at work and in the community, it is urged to wear the white ribbon
every day for 16 days from 25 November to 10 December to show they do not accept
women and child abuse. Wearing a white ribbon will let victims and survivors know
we are united in support; it might encourage perpetrators to change their ways;
it will help bring more people into the fight against abuse.
We should use
the 16 Days of Activism to commit ourselves and persuade others to give practical
support throughout the year to the call to not commit acts of abuse.
violence over the festive period requires an extra effort to reduce violence and
ensure that services and support are accessible. Parents look after your children.
Don't let alcohol deter you and cause you to neglect your children. Don't leave
your children alone with strangers or friends and relatives you cannot say you
Together let us build a South Africa that truly protects
women and children! I therefore applaud Parliament for putting forward this important
matter in their agenda today. As a member of this House, I look forward in working
with you all, throughout the year, in making sure that we all live in a South
Africa which is truly free from fear of any form of violence, including Violence
Against Women and Children.
Issued by: The Presidency