Violence against women can never be tolerated, says KZN Premier

2011-08-10 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL Premier Zweli Mkhize has come out strongly against violence against women, saying “it is one thing that can never be tolerated by the government”.

Mkhize was speaking in Kokstad at the Oval sportsfield, which was filled to capacity with African National Congress Women’s League members clad in green and black for yesterday’s Women’s Day celebrations.

The day commemorates August 9, 1956, when 20 000 women of all races marched on Pretoria’s Union Buildings to present a petition against the carrying of passes by women.

Yesterday’s celebrations kicked off in earnest when women and men held hands and gave spirited renditions of anti-apartheid anthems and hymns.

Mkhize said his government has launched a programme, driven by “decent” men, which intends to engage all males in the province to come on board and play a vital role in the fight against the abuse of women and children.

“We want men not to keep quiet when another man is abusing woman and children.

“They should take a full responsibility for protecting their women, whom …they claim to love,” Mkhize said.

He condemned the recent murders of police officers and those whose partners were police members: “Perpetrators of violence on women should face the full might of the law.”

He condemned the myth that women’s empowerment means the disempowerment of men. “This is not true, because all nations that prosper can only achieve this through mutual respect and men and women working together.”

Mkhize said his government wants to ensure economic empowerment for women is a key factor in uplifting communities, which is linked to the government’s efforts to improve lives of women, particularly in rural areas.

Another challenge is HIV and Aids, he said, and he urged people not to be ashamed of their status. He commended the fact that the transmission of the virus from the mother to child has dropped significantly in KwaZulu-Natal.

Mkhize announed that funds have been organised to build about 600 crèches in the Sisonke area to give women a freer hand to take part in community activities.

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