The scourge of gender-based violence (GBV) is a dark cloud that looms over South Africa, casting a grim shadow on the nation’s conscience. Amidst this grim reality, the African National Congress (ANC) has taken a firm stand, declaring the fight against GBV as its number one priority. ANC Deputy President Paul Mashatile, speaking during the party’s 2019 Manifesto Review rally in Thaba Nchu, has underscored the urgency of this issue and the party’s commitment to addressing it head-on.
A Cry for Change
At the heart of this commitment lies a profound recognition of the pressing need for change. Mashatile stated that the ANC is listening to the calls for stricter laws regarding GBV cases. The voices of the party’s members and the broader South African community have resonated strongly, urging the ANC to take more decisive action against the perpetrators of these heinous crimes. In response, the ANC has initiated a review of its manifesto, aiming to devise strategies to combat the escalating crisis.
- Listening to the people’s concerns
- Commitment to stricter laws
- Reviewing the party’s manifesto
Tightening the Legal Framework
Mashatile’s words echo a resounding commitment to tightening the legal framework surrounding GBV. He emphasized, “That’s on top of our agenda, the issue of women’s gender-based violence. We are making sure that the laws are tightened. We want the police to do their work, so we are not going to tire in the fight against gender-based violence. It’s our number one priority.”
Tragic Cases Highlight the Urgency
The urgency of this issue becomes painfully evident when tragic cases such as that of Mamello Thamae come to light. Thamae, a slain magistrate and acting judge of the Free State Division of the High Court, was brutally murdered, allegedly by her husband. Her lifeless body was discovered in the boot of a vehicle by the Lesotho Mounted Police. The harrowing details of this case serve as a stark reminder that GBV knows no bounds and affects individuals across all strata of society.
Local Initiatives and Voices
Local organizations like The Empowerment Institute for Women in Bloemfontein have been at the forefront of the fight against GBV. Mannehileng Letuka, a representative of this action group, emphasizes the need for serious intervention. She notes, “I think honestly when we talk about gender-based violence, we can never say cases are reducing, for as long as we still have people that are reporting this kind of cases, for us it says we still not where we supposed to be.”
- Local organizations leading the charge
- Continuous reporting of GBV cases
Hope for Change
Despite the daunting challenges, there is a glimmer of hope. Letuka highlights the ANC’s commitment to addressing GBV in its manifesto review, signaling a potential turning point. She states, “And in as much as there will be implementations to deal with gender-based violence issues, we need people that will make sure that these interventions are being monitored and evaluated, so that we can be able to see the progress.”
ANC Women’s League Speaks Out
The ANC Women’s League in the Free State also voiced its concerns. Theodora Mosala, a member of the league, expressed the gravity of the situation, saying, “It’s a worrying factor because you find a situation whereby women are not even safe in their own home as a result we are worried about it. It’s a major concern to us.”
A Work in Progress
The ANC acknowledges that it has not fully achieved its 2019 goals but reaffirms its commitment to making progress. The fight against GBV is a complex battle, and change takes time. The party is dedicated to continued efforts to combat this scourge and create a safer, more just South Africa.
The ANC’s declaration that the fight against gender-based violence is its number one priority is a significant step forward in addressing this pressing issue. With a commitment to tightening laws, reviewing its manifesto, and supporting local initiatives, there is hope for a brighter future where the scourge of GBV is finally eradicated. While progress may be gradual, the ANC’s dedication to this critical cause is a beacon of hope for a safer and more equal South Africa.