Thursday in Black Campaign - 23 March 2017

Programme Director
Chairperson of Life Line Northern Cape, K. Lekoba
Deputy Chairperson of Life Line Northern Cape, B. Ngubo
Pastor Jonkers, New Breathe Restoration
Ms Harker, Life Line Northern Cape
Mr Peter Maulana, Life Line National
Ms Zandike Deyi, Thuthuzela Care Centre
Ms Charmaine Williams
Ms Paula Makatsi
Members of Civil Society
Government officials
Members of the Media
Ladies and gentlemen

It is an honour, this day, to be with so many committed activists from all walks of life here in Kimberley united in the fight against not only gender-based violence, but violence and discrimination in general. Yesterday we observed Human Rights Day and Rape and Violence especially against those most vulnerable are the most atrocious forms of human rights violations. 
I stand in for the Premier who due to other commitments could not join us, but I can assure you ladies and gentlemen that the issues of rape and violence is of great concern to not only the Premier, but Government as a whole. Premier requested that I tender an apology and also to assure the gathering that she stands firmly behind this campaign and wish you well with your campaign.
I wish to commend the organizers of this campaign for organizing this awareness campaign and challenge and by the response I can see that you have already made a great impact. I understand that together we will paint the city black today and I am confident that there is no doubt that together we can move South Africa forward by ensuring that we work side by side in bringing an end to the scourge of abuse and gender-based violence in our communities.
It is only through the active participation of all stakeholders, especially the various communities, that we can win this battle. Gender Based Violence is not just a police issue, it is not just a social worker issue, it is not just a government issue, it is not just a woman issue. It affects all of us gathered in this hall today.

Today we bid farewell to the 2016 Campaign for no violence against women and children. It is however a farewell that we hope not honour as we will continue to not only campaign against violence, but we will also act on it. It is also a time that we need to reflect on the impact since we came together last year. Whilst doing so, I wish to state, that as civil society, we sadly come up short on making a meaningful impact on the lives of the many women and children falling prey to abuse at the hands of husbands, partners, fathers, family and strangers.

During the course of this year the Province has witnessed horrendous cases of women and child abuse. Names that come to mind are those of Kerileng Mavisand Nyathi Nqozi, and Aletta Swartbooi who died violently and painfully at the hands of their partners.
The tragic case of six year old Kutlwano Garesape, who courageously fought of an assailant that attempted to rape his mother. This young hero paid the ultimate price for his bravery and never shall we forget this little boy who did what men are supposed to do- and that is to honour and protect every woman and child. These are but a few names that I mention but the list of reported and unreported cases is too long to mention. A list which puts to shame what we strive for in this beautiful Province.

Ladies and gentlemen, as you know, the 16 Days of Activism Campaign on No Violence against Women and Children is a United Nations-endorsed campaign. It takes place annually from the 25th of November which is an International Day of No Violence against Women. This campaign runs up to the 10th of December which is International Human Rights Day.
This year we are celebrating the campaign under the theme: “Count me in – Together moving a non-violent South Africa forward”. We are strongly of the view that this year’s campaign should enable us to confront our fears, to assert our rights, to speak out against suffering and violence and most importantly, to examine our individual and collective commitments to ending violence against women and children.
Furthermore the campaign for us as a Province is to enable us to say a collective big “NO” to the kind of discrimination that targets women and children, making those who are vulnerable the deliberate victims of violence and undermining their power.
One out of every six women gets battered by her husband or boyfriend, but domestic violence is not talked about openly. In every hour passing, a woman and or child is raped in most cases by close relations.  People think that home is supposed to be one of the safest place, but when women are beaten-up, there is no body speaking out.  
To ensure that victims are in a safe environment and receive the necessary support and services after experiencing brutality in the hands of perpetrators, the Department of Social Development is funding 5 Victim Support Centres in the Province.  Kimberley Shelter in Kimberley, Ethembeni Trauma and Crisis Centre in De Aar, Bopanang Centre in Upington, Prinsess Poffadder Safe House in Keimoes and Bankhara Bodulong White Door in Kuruman.  We therefore urge women to utilize these services as they are meant for them.  We encourage women to speak out and break the violence circle of abuse. 
We have as a Department, assembled a team of stakeholders (NPA, Justice, SAPS, Correctional Service, Education, Health, Commission on Gender Equality, VEP Volunteers, NGOs in the area who undertook a week long programme in Hartswater from the 5th up to the close of the 16 days campaign today to educate our communities on issues of Gender Based Violence.  This integrated programme promotes unity and working together as government departments for the benefit of our communities.  

Through this campaign and these activities, the departments seeks to achieve the following objectives:
1. Educate society about the scourge of women and child abuse.
2. Challenge perpetrators to change their behavior.
3. Bring necessary awareness to the attention of men, women and children about information they can acquire
4. Encourage society to speak out.
5. Highlight the impact of Substance & Alcohol Abuse and Gender Based Violence  on HIV/AIDS
6. Emphasize the importance of government and civil society partnerships in fighting gender based violence

This integrated programme bears testimony to our collective concern in the fight against Gender Based Violence in our communities. We acknowledge that we cannot do it alone, and we need partners to fight alongside us. And the most important partner we need is the community. For it starts in the community and as such the community plays an integral part in combatting this scourge.

Dames en Here, ek moet ook noem dat dit nie alles so waanhopig is nie. Ons moet ook erken dat onder die ANC beheerde Regering het ons merkwaardige vordering gemaak in die bevordering van vroue en kinderregte. Ons het merkwaardige vordering gemaak in die bewusmaking van hierdie veldtog, maar veel meer kan en moet gedoen word en dit begin in die huis waar ouers die voorbeeld moet stel.

Ons moet ons jong seuns en mans leer hoe n vrou behandel behoort te word. Ons moet ook ons dogters leer wat dit beteken is om ‘n dame te wees. Ons moet ten alle tye wedersydse respek vir mekaar aan te kweek en te bevorder.

Dit is verblydend om op te let dat meer en meer mans betrokke raak by die bevordering en beskerming van vroue en kinderregte.  Net gister het mans onder leiding van Maatskaplike dienste en SASSA ‘n optog gehad en hulle daaraan verbind om nie net kampvegters vir vroueregte te word nie, maar ook as rolmodelle sal dien in hul gemeenskaape. Hierdie mans verdien ‘n spesiale plek in ons harte en ek wil almal teenwoordig aanmoedig om net die voorbeeld wat daargestel is na te volg nie, maar ook om dit wyd en suid te verkondig en te beoefen.

Aan die voorfront van hierdie veldtog is die belangrikheid om vroue as eweknie en as ons gelyke te aanvaar. Want slegs dan sal mans ons vroue respekteer en met deernis en menslikheid behandel. Die ander been van ons strategie is om bewusmaking van geweld teen vroue en kinders op te skerp en te verkondig. Die negatiewe impak van hierdie euwel moet bekendgemaak word en ons moet nie net hierdie veldtog beperk tot hierdie tydperk nie, maar dit moet elke dag deel uitmaak van ons verpligtinge. Alhoewel hierdie veldtog deur die Verenigde Nasies onderskryf word en vanaf 25 November tot 10 December jaarliks strek, moet ons dit nie net tot hierdie tydperk beperk nie, maar moet dit heeljaar onderhou word. 
From today, those who inflict violence on others will know they are being isolated and cannot count on other men to protect them. From now on all men will hear the call to assume their responsibility for solving this problem. That call goes out from here to men in every walk of life.

Together we have the ability to create a society where, women can walk freely in the street and children can play safely outside with no fear of being attacked
Ladies and gentlemen, the unfortunate truth is that gender based violence and abuse of our children often has its origin in the home. Earlier this year with the release of the crime stats, it was stated that the Province experienced an increase of 8.9 percent in Sexual Offences. From previous analysis done it is known that alcohol and drug abuse, jealousy amongst partners in a relationship or marriages and domestic violence related incidents are mostly the triggers for crimes of this nature to be committed.  In 86.4 percent of these cases the victim and the suspect were known to each other and only in 9.7 percent the suspect was unknown to the victim. In 64.7 percent the rape incidence occurred within dwellings and in 33.8 percent it occurred in public places.

I mention these statistics because I want to emphasise the fact that the solution lies with all of us. I want to encourage and urge society to acknowledge that violence against women and children is NOT a government or criminal justice system problem, but a societal problem, and that failure to view it as such results in all efforts failing to eradicate this scourge in our communities. We must ensure mass mobilisation of all communities to promote collective responsibility in the fight to eradicate violence against women and children. 

Another problem we are currently contending with is instances of abuse of young girls at school at the hands of educators. These are people that we entrust the safety of our children to and these educators cannot keep their filthy hands from them. It greatly tarnishes the reputation of the sector and that of innocent teachers who are committed to provide not only quality education, but who also are seen as role models in our communities. I call on these educators to stop this. We will ensure that those found guilty of violating the rights of children be harshly dealt with.

Ladies and gentlemen, the past days we were also again shocked to the core by religious leaders violating the rights of congregants all in the name of God. A lot of banter has been going around on social media of a matter that should be dealt with in all earnest. I sincerely call upon our people to not allow yourselves to be abused by these questionable practices by questionable pastors and prophets as they are known. We serve a God that promotes peace, love and respect for one another.

What these people are doing is to humiliate their followers. I plead with you to not be blinded by these people. Please let’s put a stop to the practices where congregants are fed rodents, grass and even petrol. Now the new trend is spraying people with deadly insecticides and electrocuting people. It seems the more extreme they are the more popular they become. So once again we all on these religious leaders to stop these degrading practices and to treat followers of the faith with dignity and respect. 

Ladies and gentlemen, let us continue to speak against this scourge and build on the successes of the last few years. Let us continue to have “many voices, one message that says, “Not in my name: Together moving a non-violent South Africa forward!”
Let us one and all embrace and adopt the spirit of Ubuntu and live in peace with one another.
With these few words I, on behalf of the Social Development family wish you a blessed Christmas and a peaceful festive time. This time is all about family and the celebration of the human spirit. Let us honour this time and beyond. Let us as children of God commit to love, honour and protect our women and children. 

I thank you


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