At a parliamentary question and answer session today, Deputy President David Mabuza said that “men must change” if the scourge of gender-based violence in South Africa is to be overcome.
Mabuza agreed that the violence against women and children must be stopped “no matter what it costs,” but seems to feel that without fundamental changes, the efforts of the government will not be sufficient.
“As government we have put enough instruments and have enough procedures to fight gender-based violence. At the root of this is patriarchy,” he said.
“No nation can succeed if it socialises its young boys to disrespect their mothers and sisters,” he continued.
“Men must change and men must recognise women as human beings; that they have feelings and enjoy the same freedoms as them,” appeared to be his overall message.
The deputy president called on men to “stand up and become agents of change.”
He says “an integrated and multi-faced approach” is needed to stop violence against women and children.
Asked by the DA if he feels VIP protection money should be shifted to services dealing with fighting the scourge of sexual violence, Mabuza said “more policemen and women are needed.”
It was reported on Tuesday that the government spends R1.9 million annually on protection services for VIPs and only R1 500 per person to protect South African individuals.
While Mabuza did appear to be saying that the government is already doing what it can, he did commit to “listen and respond” more.
“As government, we want women’s voices to be heard. We will listen and respond to the cries of women and vulnerable children,” he said.
“We are a government that is responsive and we want to reiterate our determination to work with all South Africans to rid our country of this scourge,” he continued.
Mabuza stressed young girls should not travel to school alone due to the prevalence of children going missing.
He also promised that a national gender summit will take place after such a request was made to the president at the Union Buildings as part of the #TotalShutdown march.
The deputy president also acknowledged the failures of the criminal justice in dealing with violence and abuse. More importantly, our criminal justice system must provide protection to women and children who are subjected to violence and abuse.