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Enough debating: MPs want bills on GBV finalised urgently

The National Assembly on Tuesday held another debate on gender-based violence following a spate of femicides over the past few weeks.

FILE: The National Assembly on Tuesday held another debate on gender-based violence following a spate of femicides over the past few weeks. Picture: @GovernmentZA/Twitter.

CAPE TOWN - Members of Parliament (MPs) want to do more to curb the scourge of gender-based violence (GBV) and not just debate the matter.

The National Assembly on Tuesday held another debate on gender-based violence following a spate of femicides over the past few weeks.

MPs, like the Economic Freedom Fighter’s Veronica Mente, said lawmakers in Parliament had not done enough to deal with the problem.

She’s also called out President Cyril Ramaphosa for not fulfilling an undertaking to introduce legislation on gender-based violence.

“President Ramaphosa promised that the government would introduce a legislative amendment to ensure, among other things, that there is no way for perpetrators of gender-based violence and that the sentences to these offences are tightened. Up to this day, no amendments from the Cabinet to the legislation have been introduced," she said.

Democratic Alliance chief whip Natasha Mazzone said a bill dealing with the forensic DNA of convicted criminals needed to be finalised.

“There is a piece of legislation that we need to push through and it’s the forensic bill legislation. Currently, 46,000 schedule eight convicts do not have DNA samples listed with the South African government. We do not know if they have been released, we do not know where they are.”

Public Works Minister Patricia de Lille has also added her voice saying it should be about real change and not a competition on who makes the most dramatic speeches.

WE WILL NOT BE SILENCED

A group of youth handed over a memorandum to government on Tuesday to address burning issues around gender-based violence.

On Tuesday, many young people from across Cape Town gathered at Parliament to have their voices heard asking government to take violence against women and children more seriously.

Nine months ago, they say they were at this very spot listening to promises from the president.

But as women and children continue to die and live in fear, they have stopped believing he was serious.

One young woman was sexually abused by her neighbour but said she would not be silenced.

Some of the 27 demands on the memorandum include an immediate report from all levels of government detailing what is being done to combat these crimes.

They also want police officers to be given GBV sensitivity training and assurances that rape kits will be prioritised at South African police stations.

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