“These gruesome and horrible deeds must stop. It is within our hands to stop this madness that threatens to tear apart the basic fibre of our society,” Deputy President Mabuza said.
The Deputy President made the call during the National Men’s Summit, currently underway in Ballito in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.
Scheduled from 24 - 26 August 2018, the summit is led by the South African National Aids Council (SANAC) Men Sector, in partnership with the Department of Social Development and other civil society organisations.
It aims to encourage support to initiatives that address the role of men and boys in combating the spread of HIV, TB and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), as well as mitigating the impact of the diseases in communities.
The summit is organised under the banner, “Takuwani Riime” (a Tshivenda expression meaning let us stand up together) which is a consortium of organisations working with men and boys to tackle various social challenges, such as GBV.
In his keynote address, Deputy President Mabuza revealed that South Africa has over the last five years seen an increase in the number of women murders, with 2 639 women losing their lives, in the last year alone.
“Only one in three murders are detected by the police. This implies that the figure could be as high as 9 000 women killed every year, in the past five years. In the last three years, 124 526 rape cases have been reported and 41% of these were rapes against children….we have close to 120 cases of rape reported daily,” the Deputy President said.He said men in South Africa have to meet and talk about the rape of women and children, including old and disabled persons, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people.
“We must admit that we have a problem that has reached unprecedented and unacceptable levels. We have to talk as men about the pain we have inflicted on women and children, [and] we have to meet as men to stop, think and reflect on the throes of pain, the grievous bodily and emotional violence we have inflicted on our society.
“We have to meet to count the bodies of women and children left strewn and dead across the lands and fields of our nation. We have to meet to make a choice, to change our ways and speak truth to each other. We have to meet to admit vice and deal with the entrenchment of male power, privilege and patriarchy,” the Deputy President said.
Feel women’s pain
The Deputy President also challenged men to take a collective responsibility to draw the line, and say “enough is enough this far and no further”, and also listen to women and feel their pain.
The Deputy President said the summit is an important step in the right direction, and “it shows recognition that we have heard the harrowing cries of women and children, who have suffered violence perpetrated by us as men”.
“Let this summit serve as a sanctuary for self-evaluation, introspection, a deeper-gaze into the soul to find that spot of conscience and self-restraint. It must not be a summit of blame but one of serious contemplation. It must be a summit where men can be free to speak, and free to say, as men, we too come from a broken society,” Deputy President Mabuza said.
At the event, the Deputy President joined men and boys in pledging their support to stop the scourge of violence against women and children.
The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) in KZN said the intervention strategy will bring a caring society and play a huge role in combating GBV, spread of HIV and STI’s.
“We believe that through dialogues, awareness is created. We’ve started with activations in our taxi ranks in the province, ensuring that this gospel is conveyed to our constituencies to ensure that women are not belittled in our taxi ranks,” said Santaco KZN Provincial Manager, Sifiso Shangase.
Plan of action
Dr Matome Kganakga from SANAC Men’s Sector said that they are currently struggling with the definition of what is a man, and the Men’s Charter will help them to define a man.
“At this summit, we will come up with a plan of action on how to tackle the problem of GBV. The plan will be presented in Parliament on 19 November 2018,” Dr Kganakga said.
Men Champion Change Programme
Meanwhile, the Department of Social Development has launched a Men Champion Change, a social and behaviour change programme, targeting men and boys to address the behaviours and traditional norms that puts them and their partners at risk of acquiring HIV.
It also seeks to encourage men to play an active role in ending men’s violence against women and in protecting themselves and their partners from acquiring HIV and AIDS.