by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa has urged South Africans to end the rampant plague of gender-based violence (GBV) as the country joins the world in commemorating the 16 Days of Activism campaign.
This begins on Wednesday.
“Let us remember that we all share a common goal: to turn the tide on this scourge,” the president wrote in his weekly letter.
“Let us continue in the spirit of mutual respect and partnership to make this year’s 16 Days of Activism campaign one that is impactful and that makes a difference.”
He said by the time the campaign concludes on International Human Rights Day, South Africans must all be closer to achieving a society in which the rights of women and girls were upheld and protected.
South Africa has one of the world highest incidences of GBV.
It spiked during the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown.
Ramaphosa cited a study in 2017, which indicates the economic cost of gender-based violence in South Africa was between R28 billion and R42,4 billion a year.
This includes the social services, shelter and health care needed to respond effectively to gender-based violence.
The president said individuals and families bore the greatest proportion of costs – from reduced income to replacement of broken property, to transportation to seek care or attend trial.
“Furthermore, the productivity of women in abusive relationships is also negatively affected.”
There is also the so-called second-generation impact, such as the cost of services for children and others who are affected.
“It is clear then that not only is eradicating gender-based violence a moral and human rights imperative, it is also key to us realising our developmental potential as a country,” Ramaphosa stated.
It is nearly three decades since the United Nations first initiated the global campaign of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.
The campaign runs from November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to International Human Rights Day on December 10.
In South Africa, the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) will launch the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children campaign on Tuesday.
– CAJ News