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Ramaphosa's Sona 2020 plans to fight violence against women and children

"We will amend the Domestic Violence Act to better protect victims in violent domestic relationships."

President Cyril Ramaphosa delivering the State of the Nation Address on 13 February 2020. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - During his State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Thursday, President Cyril Ramaphosa highlighted plans the government implemented, and those he expected to execute in the future, to curb violence against women. This was the president's fourth Sona.

"Over the last six months, the nation has been galvanised – across communities, government, civil society, religious groupings, the judiciary and parliament – to end the crisis of violence perpetrated by men against women. But it is only the beginning of the struggle."

"We implemented an emergency action plan and reprioritised R1.6 billion to support this plan until the end of the current financial year. There has been progress in several areas," he said.

The president said government would be amending various Acts to help solve some of the problems.

"We will amend the Domestic Violence Act to better protect victims in violent domestic relationships and the Sexual Offences Act to broaden the categories of sex offenders, whose names must be included in the National Register for Sex Offenders, and we will pass a law to tighten bail and sentencing condition in cases that involve gender-based violence.

Last year, the president addressed the nation after a series of protests against gender-based violence in Parliament following the murders of many women and children, including the much-publicised rape and murder of university student Uyinene Mrwetyana at a post office in Cape Town.

At the time, measures he said intended to look into included overhauling and making public the national register of sex offenders, opposing bail and parole for perpetrators of such crimes, reviewing laws on domestic violence and establishing provincial emergency response teams to deal with crimes against women and children.

Many have been calling for the National Register of Sex Offenders to be made public. Making this register public, however, could compromise the identities of victims and survivors, which is why it is not public at present.

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