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Ramaphosa to address SA on harsher penalties for gender-based violence

President Cyril Ramaphosa was heckled when addressing protesters against gender-based violence outside Parliament.

President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses protesters against gender-based violence outside of Parliament on 5 September 2019. He was accompanied by Minister of Human Settlements Water and Sanitation, Lindiwe Sisulu and other officials. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/EWN

CAPE TOWN - President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation later on Thursday on a plan to address gender-based violence.

He made the announcement outside Parliament in Cape Town on Thursday. The president was heckled when he met with protesters.

"Enough is enough, and we will act on that," Ramaphosa said.

"We must declare a state of emergency - I will be addressing that issue as well," he added.

"The issues that we have set out here, such as [ensuring] that there are harsher penalties, is precisely what we can address," the president said.

Hundreds of people gathered at the gates of Parliament to vent their anger of gender violence. It's a cross-section of society, women and men of all races and cultures gathered and were dressed in black.

Some held up posters which read, "Stop Killing Our Daughters, Mothers and Nieces".

Others can be seen brandishing placards with the text "Am I Next" written in black.

One UCT student Sarah Schardla is selling cookies at the gathering. The money will go to slain Uyinene Mrwetyana’s family.

Ramaphosa will also visit Mrwetyana's family in the Eastern Cape, saying "we need emergency measures in place to protect women".

Mrwetyana was raped and murdered after going to the post office for a parcel. The alleged perpetrator was arrested on Tuesday.

"The killing of women must be brought to an end. We want the men our country to take responsibility for the slaughtering of women ... stop raping the women of our country and killing them."

"As a government, we will heighten the safety and protection of the women of our nation."

Throughout the week, the World Economic Forum taking place in Cape Town had protesters outside, demanding justice for women who have been raped and murdered.

'WATCH: Women aren't raping themselves, men should be held accountable' - activists

"We will address harsher penalties so that the men who rape women, and kill women, must stay in jail for life," Ramaphosa said.

"Men who rape women, men who kill women, do not belong in society. They belong behind bars ... once you rape and kill a woman, you will get life."

He also said there must be no bail for those accused of "violence against women and children".

Ramaphosa also touched on specialised courts for such cases.

"It is important that we continue as a nation to show our solidarity to show our care and compassion," Ramaphosa said.

"Last year, arising from a number of calls we held a GBV summit and those outcomes are currently in process of being implemented," he said.

* JUDITH FEBRUARY: Uyinene was not the first and she won't be the last

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