In an opinion piece published in the Daily Dispatch on Monday, political commentator Justice Malala said that the government needs to take a new radical approach to end gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) as the old methods have not brought any change.
The article reflects on government’s responses to the prevention of GBVF. Last year in October, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that R1.6 billion was allocated to an emergency fund for the fight against GBVF. In addition, the President announced that stricter legal and policy frameworks would be applied to perpetrators and that they would not be considered for parole. Malala says that none of these measures has been able to eliminate GBVF, therefore more radical approaches need to be taken.
In the article Malala mentions some government interventions since the beginning of the national lockdown, these include:
- The 230 000 cases opened due to citizens contravening lockdown regulations
- Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga devoting resources to improve the conditions of schools in rural areas
- Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Lindiwe Sisulu being able to suddenly provide water after slow developments and high corruption
Malala says that many ministers have now been able to take the necessary action to fulfil their duties that was meant to be resolved much earlier. Yet, nothing, no urgent progress has been made in the fight against GBVF. Malala says the government keeps doing the same things, but now needs to change their approach.
He suggests that men are re-educated at all levels of society. Furthermore, Malala says that perpetrators need to be arrested and prosecuted because many perpetrators are aware that they could easily get away with violent crimes. Thus there needs to be an expansion in the investigative capacity of the SAPS when dealing with GBVF crimes.
“Change will not come while men are mollycoddled by a government that excuses, aids and abets their actions. The truth is hard to swallow. Men kill women, men perpetuate myths of superiority and patriarchy, and men need to lead the fight against gender-based violence,” Malala writes.
He further adds, “It is us men who are doing the maiming, the beating and the killing. It is the same people who chant that Black Lives Matter and shout George Floyd’s name out loud who are, at the same time, going home and menacing and killing their female partners.”
Malala says that there are not many talking about the reality that as a woman in South Africa when you see a man, you have to consider that he may be an abuser. He says this is because many South Africans do not believe that crimes will actually be solved.
Justice Malala says that gender-based violence and femicide in South Africa is a real, daily pandemic and needs to be stopped by direct action.