BY REGINALD KANYANE
PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma said that more has to be done to empower women so that incidents of gender based violence can end.
Zuma said this when he address thousands of people who gathered to witness the launch of 16 Days of Activism against Women and Children at Naauwpoort village, outside Mahikeng yesterday (Wednesday)
“This is an international day where we launching today. We adopted the 16 Days of Activism against women and children abuse campaign in 1998. We did that because we wanted to build the society with no violence.
“More still need to be done to achieve our mark. The campaign impact needs to broaden. Women and children need not to cover up or condone violence against them. Everyone needs to fight the scourge both in their houses and in public. Most women are hurt by people they know and love. The violence must not be taken lightly or be treated as a private matter. It is a serious crime and we declare it as a priority crime,” Zuma said.
The president added that everyone had to stand up against abuse because it often leads to other soci0-economic issues like HIV/AIDS, alcohol and substance abuse.
He also urged the justice system to hand down harsh sentence to perpetrators of violence.
“We need to confront this problem and eradicate cultural violence against women and children. We need to look at the socio-economic issues that contribute to this scourge. Unemployment, poverty and other issues need to be taken into consideration. Women empowerment will help in fighting the abuse. We also urge the private sectors to ensure that promotion of women take place as that will improve the lives of the women,” he said.
Speaking at the launch,Premier Supra Mahumapelo: “The abuse against women and children need to be condemned. Men must stand up and embark on a fight against women and children. We will incorporate the 16 days of Activism against Women and Children into Setsokotsane programme. Men must take a pledge and make sure they become the real men and fight the scourge.
“We believe that together, we can win the battle. The people of the North West must come forward and speak out. To all women and children, make sure you do not get abused and keep quite. We also urge faith leaders to convey the message in their congregations,” he said. Minister for Women in the Presidency, Susan Shabangu said: “It is an important day of our lives. We are launching the 16 Days of Activism against women and children. We decided to come here because here in Naauwpoort village is at high rate of abuse in the province. Also older people are abused. We are looking at the condition in the area. Elderly people are victims.”
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