It is high time that all the talk around gender-based violence is accompanied with stern action, ANC Women’s League president Bathabile Dlamini said.
Dlamini was speaking during a virtual session convened yesterday to remember the lives lost to gender-based violence in the country.
The meeting also sought to unpack what could be done to ensure the scourge was effectively dealt with.
Dlamini said women formed 51.2% of the population and “whenever there is anything done by the government that dividend must be taken into account. The attitude to make us look like beggars is not correct.
“We don’t want promises and talks on how they are going to respond to our challenges and throw programmes in our faces that are not budgeted for, programmes that are not institutionalised, because what we are experiencing now is linked to structural and systematic patriarchy in major institutions.
“The state has the responsibility to protect all citizens. If we agree that gender-based violence is a challenge for society let, for instance, there be a strategic plan with a budget equal to us.”
Gender desks in various departments, provinces and municipalities should not only “wake up” when a woman had been killed or raped, or during the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign, women had to be safe 365 days of the year, she said.
“We are not going to only cry in the memory of women that have been killed, the women’s league has agreed that working with communities, we are going to establish command centres that are going to comprise community leaders, political organisations and faith-based organisations.
“Faith-based organisations will not become holier than thou, we know what has been happening in the so-called ‘sacred’ places which have thrown that away. Women are raped in churches.”
She said women’s issues should not be made a talk show; there must be platforms for actions.
There was also concern expressed on the withdrawal of GBV cases: “A number of cases are withdrawn and it is a worrying trend as it is mostly women who withdraw.”
Dlamini said the women’s league also expected men to lead marches, to be progressive and say “not in our name” to the scourge of violence which has seen many lives lost.