Parliament, 15 June 2020 – The Presiding Officers of Parliament, led by National Assembly Speaker Ms Thandi Modise and National Council of Provinces Chairperson Mr Amos Masondo, join the mounting public outrage over the increase in femicide and gender-based violence.
Bold and resolute action, rather than outrage, however, is what our nation needs to change this shocking state of affairs in our country.
We know it has festered for too long, shielded by the veils of silence and fuelled by patriarchy and sexism. We know that ending it needs effort from sections of society, particularly men as perpetrators – in the areas where we live, the places where we work and from all private and state institutions, including our justice and criminal justice systems. The wheels of justice must turn and be seen to turn swiftly in bringing alleged perpetrators to book and meting out appropriate (harsher) punishment to discourage the occurrence of similar offences. But even more important, is ensuring an environment where these heinous crimes against a significant population of our society do not even take place in the first place.
The brutal and senseless killing of Ms Tshegofatso Pule, a 28-year-old whose body was found hanging from a tree with multiple stab wounds, and Ms Naledi Phangindawo, a 26-year old stabbed to death, and many others whose names are not known, underscores the urgency in which perpetrators must receive a fitting sentence that will demonstrate that such heinous crimes have no place in society.
We welcome the commitment that members of the executive, deployed across the country as part of the national effort to combat COVID-19, will also engage communities about the increase in gender-based violence.
Parliament will continue to intensify its oversight to ensure all interventions against the scourge are realized, and this include the implementation of the decisions of the Presidential Summit on Gender-Based Violence, overhaul and modernisation of the national register of gender-based violence offenders, resolving challenges rating to backlog of cases and delays in DNA testing, as well as ensuring availability of rape test kits in police stations.
As with our global co-operation to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, so, too, let us work together, as humanity, to fight the femicide and gender-based violence still stalking our nation. Together, we can build that better world to which so many aspire, for which so many have struggled and died.
The Presiding Officers have extended their heartfelt condolences to the families of Tshegofatso Pule, Naledi Phangindawo and other victims of femicide whose names may never be known publicly.