Cape Town, Parliament, 22 June 2020 – The fight against gender-based violence intensified at Parliament yesterday when the institution, the Department of Social Development and the South African National Aids Council Men’s Sector held a successful national men’s dialogue.
The dialogue, held under the theme: “Fathers Speak to Heal the Nation,” was part of Father’s Day celebrations activities aimed at enabling men to have a conversation about the role they can play towards building a healthy nation; facilitating an environment that is conducive and safe for children to grow and thrive; and being allies and partners towards women’s well-being.
Speaking at the Dialogue co-facilitated by National Assembly Deputy Speaker, Mr Lechesa Tsenoli, and renowned actor, Mr Patrick Shai, today National Council of Provinces Deputy Chairperson Ms Sylvia Lucas, said: “To decrease and eventually end Gender-Based Violence (GBV) a paradigm shift is needed. This entails a focus on the root cause of violence founded on gender-based power inequalities and gender-based discrimination.”
Ms Lucas said GBV is “the most extreme expression of unequal gender relations in society. It is first and foremost a violation of human rights and global health issue that cuts across boundaries of economic, wealth, culture, religion, age and sexual orientation.”
She also said that South Africans need to work together to change mindsets and create a safe country. “We need to begin with ourselves. It is not solely government, but the civil society which has a premier role to play.”
Ms Lucas said Parliament will also be exercising its lawmaking role by initiating a public engagement process to solicit the views of women regarding the enactment of Femicide legislation that was part of resolutions of the 2019 Women’s Parliament.
“We will also continue to exercise our oversight role over the work of the executive, to ensure sustained focus in response plans and budget allocation, to root out GBV and Femicide… Parliament must make the sex offender list public and be available online and mobile platforms so that anyone can easily access it,” said Ms Lucas.
Among the panellists who addressed the Men’s Dialogue was the Deputy Minister of Police Mr Cassel Mathale, the Deputy Minister Social Development Ms Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu and Reverend Nkosinathi Geja, of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa – who made the closing remarks.
A TV show called Ebuhlanti – an initiative of Mr Shai of Khulumandoda Project, Soweto TV and the Department of Social Development – was also launched during the dialogue today as part of the broader men driven initiatives and movements to addressing social disparities that are faced by our country. GBV is a major problem in South Africa and the country has the highest proportion of reported rape cases in the world. The Ebuhlanti TV Shows will be used as a platform to introduce the entire concept of fighting violence against women and children to various stakeholders.