Women's Day - Do We Have Anything to Celebrate?

08 August 2013    



With the news that a 60-year-old former auditor for the SA Revenue Service has been raped and killed outside her home in Margate, KwaZulu-Natal, on the eve of Women's Day, the question must be asked: do we have anything to celebrate on Women's Day 2013?


This tragedy comes in the same week in which yet another baby girl and her seven year old brother were raped on a Ceres farm in the Western Cape. This also begs the question: where are the much anticipated interventions of the National Council Against Gender Based Violence?


During his 2013 State of the Nation Address, President Zuma made commitments to urgently address violence against women and children, including his commitment to making the newly established National Council Against Gender Based Violence a success. Six months down the line, it seems the Council is still not up and running.


"The IFP welcomed the launch of the National Council Against Gender Based Violence," said Liezl van der Merwe MP, the IFP's spokesperson on Women, Children and People with Disabilities, "But without powers of implementation, we warned that this Council may become yet another talk-shop. Without dedicated resources, it will be just another great idea; yet another proverbial white elephant."


With horrific and heart-wrenching incidents, like the tragedies in Margate and Ceres, it is clear that not much progress has been made since Anene Booysen's rape and murder, which led to the President announcing these measures.


"What we require is a long-term strategy to address the shocking and persistent levels of violence against women in South Africa. The measures announced by the President during his 2013 State of the Nation Address have not yielded the desired outcomes," said van der Merwe.


As we approach Women's Day 2013, the IFP believes that the only fitting way to honour and pay tribute to the women of our country is by heeding the clarion call of many civil society organisations who called on the President to establish a national commission of inquiry to investigate the failures of Government's current response to gender based violence and violence in general.


"We need to understand the causes of these high levels of violence, and put in place a special fund to provide the financial resources necessary to meet the needs of survivors and carry out essential gender based violence prevention campaigns. The IFP urges action on this call. For the sake of our women and children, we must take bold and decisive action this Women's Day to stop this scourge," concluded van der Merwe.