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Fight against GBV must go beyond 16 days of activism, says social dev committee

The committee said South Africans’ response to abuse and femicide must be emphatic and uncompromising in all sectors of society.

Capetonians gathered at the Grand Parade on 5 September 2020 to protest against corruption, farm murders, gender-based violence, and child killings. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Parliament's portfolio committee on social development has called for interventions to fight the abuse of women, children and the vulnerable to not be only limited to 16 days but for the entire year.

The committee said South Africans’ response to abuse and femicide must be emphatic and uncompromising in all sectors of society.

Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations.

The portfolio committee on social development said since the outbreak of COVID-19, reports have shown that violence against women and children has intensified.

The committee said it wanted the department to accelerate interventions that would ensure all citizens understood the importance of protecting women and children in their communities.

Chairperson Mondli Gungubele said: “Men must recollect and regain their humanity, men must take responsibility to have this country to prosper by acknowledging and this cannot be a 16 days matter, but should be a life matter for the sake of prosperity.”

With the campaign this year focused on women’s economic empowerment, Gungubele is pleading with survivors of abuse to make use of the psycho-social support services provided by the department including the gender-based command centre and the Khusela One-Stop centres.

“We believe that giving women the capacity to self-support, you are giving them the power to choose and giving them the power to determine the course of their lives.”

The launch of the campaign also coincides with the beginning of a mourning period for those who have lost their lives to gender-based violence and COVID-19 with all flags expected to fly at half-mast from Thursday.

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