The Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) bemoans government's failure to explicitly provide specific direction and urgent solutions needed to address the Gender Based Violence (GBV) crisis.
In his State of the Nation Address, President Cyril Ramaphosa acknowledges the collaborative work that is being done by civic society to address GBV, but sadly his proposed interventions fall far short of the demands made by civic society partners to address the drivers of GBV and interventions to end the scourge. We as CSVR have continuously alerted the country to the reality of this crisis. A crisis demands urgent commitment and action.
"For many women's rights activists and groups, this is a far cry in light of the recently signed GBV Summit Declaration which calls for urgent action and allocation of adequate resources to address GBV. Many promises were made to women during last November's GBV Summit and this past May General Elections. Failure to fulfill and address these promises begs the question on the sincerity of these proposed interventions that President Ramaphosa outlines," said CVSR Gender Specialist Nonhlanhla Sibanda-Moyo.
CSVR also welcomes continued work on the establishment of a Gender Based Violence and Femicide Council and a National Strategic Plan as outlined in the SONA but we call for the speedy implementation and sustainable funding of these initiatives. The other measures proposed by President Ramaphosa to tackle violent crime, including increased police numbers, improvements in the criminal justice system, a National Anti-Gang Strategy and the revised National Drug Master Plan are commendable, but are short on detail and immediate action plans.
Women and adolescents are sadly the primary targets of GBV. CSVR noted in its 2017 study: Violence against Women in SA: A Country in Crisis that, "Despite the myriad of legal protections and interventions by state and non-state actors, women in South Africa continue to experience extremely high rates of violence." To this day the prevalence of GBV remains unacceptably high. Poverty in South Africa also leaves communities, especially women, more vulnerable to GBV.
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