Address by Deputy Minister Nocawe Mafu on the occasion of the launch of the Orange Day campaign and 16 Days Activism on No Violence Against Women and Children at the National Library
25 Nov 2021
The Programme Director
The United Nations Resident Representative, delegate authority, Dr. Nelly Mwaka
UN Women Representative SAMRO, Dr Hazel Gooding
Their Excellences, The Members of the Diplomatic Corp present
The CEOs and Chairpersons of DSAC institutions,
The President and Vice President of Sport Federations
The Social Cohesion Advocates present
Ladies and Gentlemen
Open quote “Gender-based violence in South Africa has become such a common occurrence that it is referred to as the country’s second pandemic, with increased violence against women and girls through COVID-19 lockdowns. It's holding back the whole country on progress towards the UN's Global Goals and ending extreme poverty”. Close quote. Words by South Africa’s former First Lady Graça Machel. A woman of valor and a strong advocate for the end of gender-based violence (GBV). A strong woman, a mother of the nation as well as a supporter for the protection of women and girls.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we are gathered here today to launch the Orange Day Campaign and the 16 Days Activism of No Violence Against Women and Children in a bid to put an end to Gender Based Abuse (GBV) and Femicide.
This year’s 16 Days of Activism on No Violence Against Women and Children also marks the 30th Anniversary of the Campaign. There has been a special attention on Femicide which has reached indescribable levels in South Africa.
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, predominantly our women and our girls. The current quarter Crime Statistics on GBV have indicated 9 556 cases of rape within the quarter, 2 000 kidnappings and 23 000 child pregnancies. 9 000 students dropped out of school in Northern Cape. The High drop out of leaners with disability is so huge to the extent that the Minister of Basic Education is having a Conference in this regard.
Gender-based violence (GBV) 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 a countries indicator of success and prosperity is how it takes care of its vulnerable groups and against the 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.
The ruthless killing of our South African woman and the increasing violence and abuse against our women is an indication and a cry to repair our torn and sick society. Let us work together to bring back the face of humanity (Ubuntu) and create a proud and caring society and a nation that puts its citizens first, at the fore front.
The increasing statistics and rates of Femicide incidences in South Africa are of a grave and huge concern. The Covid-19 pandemic made the situation worse for women and our children. During the peak of Covid and lock down, many women were locked in homes with their abusers and reports of violence significantly increased making an already difficult pandemic even more so for women and our children.
When it comes to the reality of the problem on the ground, each and every one of us needs to rise up and be worried. The Crime Statistics in South Africa for the quarter starting April to June 2021 only, revealed that 10 006 people were raped. Of major concern is that 3 766 of the rape incidents took place at the home of the victim or the home of the rapist and 487 rape cases were domestic violence-related. In a situation when the person that is supposed to protect our women and children is the instigator, I beg to ask of you, who then is the protector of our roses? The Mothers, the nurturers? How do we keep them safe from their very own spaces that are supposed to be protective?
The worrying statistics are an indication that this is a pandemic facing us all and requires all of us to hold hands, Father, Mother, Sister, Brother, Aunt, Cousin, Niece, Neighbor, School Church and all the sectors of our society, in order to address it.
Statistics reveal that the Inanda police station in Kwa-Zulu Natal, the Delft police station in the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape’s Lusikisiki police stations recorded the highest incidents of rape. The 47.1% increase is recorded for Sexual offences when compared to the previous skewed reporting period, this figure is revised to 5.0% if compared to the previous normal period of 2019/2020 financial year. The Deputy Minister is vigorously implementing active engagements against GBV in Lusikisiki in collaboration with Presidency.
The numerous reports from Organisations like Rise Up Against Gender Based Violence, an NGO that is in Johannesburg, that has also been hard hit by increasing number of victims of abuse during Covid 19 and could no longer cope with the number of incidences and calls from women who were being abused and required safety. Being removed from their spaces of comfort and belonging as well as immediate harm, the women suffer a double tragedy coupled with, emotional and psychological trauma.
Against the backdrop of the plight of our women and children, the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, (DSAC) is joining hands with us all in the 16 Days Activism on No Violence Against Women and Children the Orange Day campaign against GBV. DSAC urges us all to unite to put an end to GBV and Femicide.
The campaign strives to strengthening partnerships at all levels both government and private sector, in particular with business, this being among other:
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
Partnerships with Government at 2 levels:
Department for Women Youth and People with Disabilities on the Rapid Response Teams that are being established
Department of Justice and Constitutional Development on the Rapid Response Mechanism which needs to be preceded by a Rapid Response Tool. This especially in relation to the National Action Plan on Combating Racism, Xenophobia, Hate Speech and other related intolerances
In line with attempts to address GBV, through the Deepening Social Cohesion Project, a partnership between UNDP and DSAC, in the year in which we commemorate the 150 years of Charlotte Maxeke, a religious leader, social and political activist, who defied all odds to become a woman of positive influence, may each and every one of us, in all our corners and spaces, be a force for change in putting a stop to women abuse, end GBV and Femicide.
The former President, the late Tata Nelson Mandela, was a staunch advocate for social cohesion and nation building who believed in an inclusive and united South Africa as well as promoted and defended human rights including those of women. To quote him. Open quote
“For every woman and girl violently attacked, we reduce our humanity. For every woman forced into unprotected sex because men demand this, we destroy dignity and pride. For every woman who has to sell her life for sex we condemn to a lifetime in prison. For every moment we remain silent, we conspire against our women. For every woman infected by HIV, we destroy a generation”.
I am making an urgent call to development urgencies, the DSAC institutions, the Advocates for Social Cohesion, the Moral Regeneration Movement, the Members of the Executive Council (MECs), the Provincial Heads of Departments (HOD)s to come together in tackling this pandemic head on.
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 invite you all that we launch together the key messaging to promote on the 25th of every month that the Orange Day Campaign and 16 Days of Activism on No Violence Against Women and Children will ride on throughout the year.
This launch serves to promote these key messages across the months as the fight against GBV should not only be confined to the November and December month only. It is an ongoing campaign until we bring normality and humanity in our societies where all leave peacefully in coexistence. The collaboration between the UNDP and the DSAC also focuses on the Mediation, Conflict Resolution and Peace Building. The objective of the initiative among other is to implement capacity building initiatives throughout the country with the aim of bringing about peace and harmony as well as ending GBV. We are all encouraged to be part of the peace building exercise.
I am inviting and calling upon all South Africans and the media to illuminate the color orange on the 25 of each month as a message saying enough is enough and as a sign and show of solidarity towards ending violence against women and girls.
The campaign calls for the need to develop Early Detection Mechanisms or Early Warning Systems for GBV and Xenophobia. 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
Through this launch we will activate the Orange campaign through provincial launches in all the nine provinces. Activations and engagement with men and women and all members of society will be done in places of transport, bus ranks, taxi ranks, churches, parks, shisanyamas, etc. Gender sensitization, GBV dialogues, seminars, workshops, conferences and campaigns focusing will be undertaken throughout the year. The yearlong Activity Plan Matrix on GBV is developed in line with the monthly thematic areas. The key messages and themes for the various months are:
November 2021: in the year of charlotte maxeke. men and women, end violence against women and girls
December 2021: this festive season be an advocate against violence: end violence against women and girls
January 2022: start the new year with a new attitude: end violence against women and girls
February 2022: share the love: stops violence against women and girls
March 2022: women’s rights are human rights, once and for all: end violence against women and girls
April 2022: free yourself: end violence against women and girls or freedom includes freedom from violence: end violence against women and girls
May 2022: stop sexual violence at work: end violence against women and girls or stop sexual harassment in the workplace: end violence against women and girls
June 2022: youth empowerment also means ending violence against young women and girls
July 2022 - “Freedom cannot be achieved unless Women have been Emancipated” Nelson Mandela
August 2022: (to link up to Women’s Month theme)
September 2022: Through Our Rich Arts, Culture And Heritage, Let us End Violence against Women and Girls
October 2022: Value and respect Older Persons: Stop Violence Against Women And Girls
November 2022: (To Be Linked To 16 Days Of Activism 2022)
December 2022: Stay Safe this Festive Season and: End Violence Against Women and Girls
In remembrance of victims of violence and those who have left us in the brutal hands of their loved, may we observe a moment of silence in their honour.
Let us unite to end violence on women and girls!
# EnoughisEnough – LetUsputanendtoGBV
I thank you