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