‘Gender machinery’ in disarray

2009-11-25 11:07

South Africa’s “gender machinery” is in “disarray” with it not even

being clear who is co-ordinating the 16-Days of activism campaign, a group of

NGOs said today.

“At a time when it is most needed, participants noted, the national

gender machinery is in disarray,” read a statement from Gender Links and the

Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR).

“There is a lack of clarity on which agency is driving the 16 Days

of Activism campaign, which used to be housed in the department of local

government, following the establishment of the ministry of women, children and

disability in April this year.

“The ministry has yet to hold a consultation with civil society

organisations. There has also been a deafening silence on the status of the 365

National Action Plan to End Gender Violence adopted in March 2007 and

co-ordinated by the National Prosecution Authority (NPA).”

They said there is also still no specific “domestic violence”

category which would enable monitoring of the crime. They called on the

government to resuscitate the 365 Day National Action Plan to End Gender


Their statement followed a three-day symposium convened by the CSVR

under the banner We can Prevent Violence. They also called for the establishment

of a special fund to end gender violence, in line with regional and

international commitments.

In addition they called on Fifa to use the World Cup 2010 to send

out strong messages in support of the campaign to end gender violence as well as


They said the 12% increase in reported rape cases to 71 500 from

April 1, 2008 to March 31, 2009 may in part be due to the expanded definition of

rape under the new act. The figures are unacceptably high and likely to be

understated due to under reporting.

Government was also still “well behind” in reaching the target of

81 one-stop centres for addressing gender violence by 2010 provided for in the

National Sexual Assault Policy.

The 16-Days campaign takes place every year from November 25, the

International Day of No Violence Against Women. It runs until December 10, which

is International Human Rights Day.


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