The Premier of KwaZulu Natal Mr Willies Mchunu will launch the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children campaign which will run from 25 November - 10 December 2018.
During the launch, which will be held in Bergville, Uthukela Municipality, on 25November 2018, Premier Mchunu will also announce the events which will form the rest of the16 Days of Activism campaign.
Over the period, government is set to convene a series of dialogues on violence against women and children to focus on the problem and to discuss the causes and find appropriate solutions. Through the dialogues government will interact with community members who experience violence and abuse.
The 16 Days Campaign is another leg of the #356Days of Activism Campaign and #CountMeIn, which aims to mobilise members of society, especially men to join hands with government in the fight to curb Violence Against Women. The 16 Days of Activism Campaign is an annual, UN-endorsed, awareness-raising campaign that begins on 25 November each year and runs through till 10 December.
The 16 Days of Activism Campaign for 2018 coincides with the centenary celebration of Mama Albertina Sisulu.
Accordingly, the theme #HearMeToo for 2018 will be supported by the sub-theme ‘Women of Fortitude’, which will focus on, “Unlocking women and girls’ lives, reaching for those furthest behind through strengthening both rural and urban activism.
#HearMeToo follows from the United Nations Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women Campaign (UNiTE), which calls for global action to increase awareness, galvanise advocacy efforts and share of knowledge and innovations.
The recently released report of StatsSA titled Crime Against Women in South Africa 2018, says “although the crime rate, in general, has decreased between 2013/14 and 2016/17, violent crimes against women, such as sexual assault, increased drastically between 2015/16 and 2016/17.”
Statistics indicate that nationally, in 2017/2018 SAPS recorded 177 620 crimes committed against women, and 43 540 crimes committed against children.
These results indicate an increase of 2.4% or 4 215 counts from the 173 405 crimes against women and a decrease of 1.6% or 712 from the crimes against children reported.
Of the total children who were victims of crime 67.7% (29 972) were girls and 32.3% (14 280) were boys.
The crimes perpetrated against women and children were mostly common assault, sexual assault, rape, abduction and murder. During the 2016/2017 financial year a total of 2 639 women, 574 boys and 265 girls were murdered.
The 2017/2018 statistics indicated an increase in the number of women (2 930), boys (691) and girls (294) murder victims.
The report says perceptions of crime are so important that the first half of the National Development Plan (NDP) Vision 2030 on crime and safety is stated in terms of perceptions and feelings of safety, rather than the actual experience of crime.
The NDP says and I quote: “In 2030, people living in South Africa (will) feel safe at home, at school and at work, and they enjoy a community life free of fear. Women walk freely in the streets and children play safely outside”
The campaign will also draw attention to the legislative environment necessary to protect women and children from violence. Among these is The Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act of 2013 which fights trafficking of young girls and women, and the practice of ukuthwala. Ukuthwala which is still prevalent in some parts of KwaZulu Natal, involves the abduction of a girl or a young woman by a man and his peers.
It is intended to compel the girl or young woman’s family to agree to marriage. We have agreed that this practice today amounts to the abuse of women and children’s rights.
The 16 Days Campaign aims to attract all South Africans to be active participants in the fight to eradicate violence against women and children, hence the theme: #Count me in.
Over the period, the 16 Days of Activism seeks to expand accountability beyond the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster to include all government clusters and provinces. This fight is ours to fight and ours to win.
During the period and thereafter, we call on everyone to combine technology, social media, the arts, journalism, religion, culture and customs, business and activism to draw attention to violence against women and children and how it affects all of us
The 16Days of Activism is also aimed at mobilising the masses of our communities to promote collective responsibility in the fight to eradicate violence against women and children.
“As society we must acknowledge that violence against women and children is not just the problem facing government or the criminal justice system. This is a problem of society in general,” said Premier Mchunu.
“This violence takes many forms including physical violence in the form of domestic violence, crimes such as murder, robbery, rape and assault. It also takes the form of emotional violence and trauma,” said Premier Mchunu.
“We must however acknowledge the violence of poverty, starvation, humiliation and degradation, especially against women and children which are occasioned by the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment.
“We wish to call on the people of KwaZulu Natal to join the rest of the country to support the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign.
By wearing the white ribbon which symbolizes peace, one will be demonstrating that you will never commit or condone violence against women and children,” said Mchunu.
“We also call on all residents of KwaZulu Natal to speak out against woman and child abuse and to encourage silent female victims to talk about abuse so they can get help. We should report child abuse to the police and encourage children to report bully behaviour to school authorities.
Since 1994, as government we have developed several pieces of legislation to redress the wrongs affecting women and children. At national level government is driving the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill which will provide government with the legislative authority to fast-track the empowerment of women. The bill will also address issues of enforcement and compliance towards the attainment of our target of 50/50 gender parity.
On 6 June 2011, Government launched the Strategy and Guidelines on Children Working and Living in the Streets. This Strategy provides guidance on the services and programmes to be rendered to children living and working in the streets.
“In addition, The Green Paper on Families seeks to strengthen and support families as the cornerstone of a well-functioning society. In particular, as we take a stand against the abuse of women and children we must also understand how our own attitudes and actions are perpetuating violence and the abuse of women and children.
“I wish to take this opportunity to plead with Men and Boys to be vocal and take a stand against abuse and to actively discourage abusive behaviour.
“Let us use every available platform especially the extensive reach of social media and radio to popularise the 16 days of Activism Against Women and Children fight for the end of sexism and violence,” said Mchunu.
#356Days of Activism Campaign!
Join the conversation on social media and tag @kzngov.
Issued by: The KwaZulu Natal Office of the Premier
Contact: Thami Ngidi
Mobile: 066 3066 793