Drum English|2 July 2020
A pregnant woman’s lifeless body hangs from a tree. Another woman’s remains are found in a plastic bag dumped along a highway. A mother and daughter are discovered dead in a house after going missing for days.
These are just a few of the cases that have dominated headlines as the scourge of gender-based violence (GBV) raises its head yet again – a scourge described as “South Africa’s second pandemic” by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his recent address to a nation in the grips of Covid-19.
Violent crime had increased during lockdown, he said, and “cases of abuse of women and children have increased dramatically”.
“We need to ask some very difficult questions of ourselves as a society,” he added.
Last year, shortly after the murder of UCT student Uyinene Mrwetyana by a post office worker in Cape Town, the president launched a R1,6 billion emergency fund to combat GBV. And yet still the horror continues unabated.
Right now, Tshegofatso Pule is the face of the scourge. Last year it was Uyinene. The year before it was Karabo Mokoena.
Ramaphosa, who read out the names of many victims of GBV during his address, said the time had come to stop the slaughter.
“As a man, as a husband and as a father, I am appalled at what is no less than a war being waged against the women and children of our country.”
But what exactly is being done?
PLEDGES FROM THE PRESIDENT
The R1,6 billion government emergency fund to fight GBV includes:
R179 million allocated to education, for raising awareness and prevention programmes;
R517 million towards care and support for survivors of gender-based violence;
200 social workers appointed to provide targeted services to survivors at various social services centres;
10 government-owned buildings handed over to the department of social development to use as shelters, addressing one of the biggest challenges facing survivors who want to leave abusive relationships;
13 regional courts upgraded to sexual offences courts;
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2 July 2020