Address by Deputy Minister Nocawe Mafu at the Men and Women in Conversation Conference

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26 Nov 2021

Programme Director

Facilitators and Panel members

Management of the Freedom Park

Management and officials of the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture

Esteemed Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

Today marks day two of the 16 days of activism, as we engage head on the horrific and persistent phenomenon of Gender-based violence and Femicide (GBV-F) which is a deep and widespread problem throughout our country. We engage this matter today collaboratively with private sector partners and confront these social ills with bold courageousness in the year of Charlotte Maxeke, a gallant heroic freedom fighter and human right activist who fought against patriarchal power structures that are themselves the cause for some forms of gender based violence – that range from physical, sexual, emotional, financial or structural, and can be perpetrated by intimate partners, acquaintances, strangers and institutions.

Our country continues to face alarming proportions of Gender Based Violence and Femicide amidst several strides by government and civil society to address this pandemic. The country’s vulnerable members are hard hit the most, that is predominantly our women and our girls.  The current quarter Crime Statistics on GBV, announced by the Minister of Police have indicated 9 556 cases of rape just within the quarter, 2 000 kidnappings and 23 000 child pregnancies.

Gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) has become so deeply entrenched across cultures and traditions in South Africa in ways that it appears to be normalised. It suffices to note that any country’s indicator of success and prosperity is how it takes care of its vulnerable groups and against this background, the need to ensure that GBV and Femicide is addressed becomes paramount. The economic impact of gender based violence is too costly to be ignored by us all as a collective. Today is therefore critical; as men and women come together in conversation; in an effort to openly discuss and explore solutions for this scourge. It is important for men to join the movement against violence perpetrated on women and children.

Addressing the National Women’s Day Event this year; President Ramaphosa made reference to the National Strategic Plan and the wider GBVF response in the country. He made reference to the six pillars that make up this NSP; which include accountability, coordination and leadership; prevention and rebuilding social cohesion; justice, safety and protection; response, care, support and healing; economic power and research and information management

It is particularly important that we reflect on the enduring virulence of patriarchy that continue to be employed in subjugating women and girl children to second-tier status. Often this leads to physical harm including femicide; that is why we are then making a special appeal to men to join this movement by being good models to boy children; and saying “NOT IN MY NAME”

Strengthening partnerships at all levels in both government and private sector is very important if as a country we are to win this war:

Especially partnering with business; such as .

  • The South African United Business Confederation, to determine the true economic cost of domestic abuse and gender-based violence
  • Africa Shared Value Leadership with their GBVF Fund
  • And the SPAR Supermarket

At a government level:

  • The Department for Women Youth and People with Disabilities has also established Rapid Response Teams

There is a need to develop Early Detection Mechanisms or Early Warning Systems for GBV, strengthen programmes on engaging Boys and Men in the Promotion of women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality so as to prevent Gender Based Violence, encourage more disruptor dialogues to take us out of our comfort zones such as this Men and Women in conversation conference.

Today we host this inaugural multi-gender, multi stakeholder and multi-sectoral Gender Based Violence and Femicide Conference.

With an aim to forge a social compact between us as government and the private sector partners so to increase our capacity for an improved and robust social response, build alliances and partnerships between public sector and caring private sector companies

Focus would be made to strengthen programmes on Engaging Boys and Men in the Promotion of women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality so as to prevent Gender Based Violence. Disruptor dialogues would be rolled out to take us out of our comfort

Am urging each and every one of us to be a force for change. From our corners and contributing spaces, let us bring back the face of Humanity to our peoples.  Let us bring back Hope and Aspiration for our vulnerable groups. Through our collective efforts and support initiatives, let us plant a sustainable seed that puts an end to this monster ravaging our societies. Let GBV and Femicide be a story of the past.

I would like to thank the panellists who are here today, every speaker here who is going to speak to help us reignite our social compact - revive our collective strength through their intentions, corporate efforts and promise for collaboration, because though we denounce violence against women, many women continue to be victims of economic exclusion and other manifestations of gender inequality in sport, the creative sector, at home and elsewhere therefore our voices are a social necessity, we are morally bound to continue speaking, and it is our collective obligation that we never stop speaking and not only that but act in

the interest of building a socially cohesive society, putting an end to silence because the experience may have been yours to endure but the story is for all of us, to heal from, to grow from and rebuild our fractured social compact of a socially cohesive nation.

I look forward to all the engagements that would be taking place today; each input counts.