‘The whole of SA must stand up’

2019-09-18 06:01
PHOTO: lethiwe makhanyaCommunity members protest against the abuse of women and children outside the Pietermaritzburg City Hall.

PHOTO: lethiwe makhanyaCommunity members protest against the abuse of women and children outside the Pietermaritzburg City Hall.

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“WE ARE tired and we are angry.” These were the words of angry residents who marched to the Pietermaritzburg City Hall last Thursday as they demanded the municipality take a stand in the fight against the abuse of women and children.

The residents joined the whole country in reaching out and expressing their frustration, heartbreak and anger over the recent incidents of the abuse, killings and rape of women by men.

Wearing all black, the protestors, who were accompanied by some men, said they are tired of losing their sisters mothers, and children at the hands of men.

They said they want Government to bring back the death sentence for all murderers and rapists.

The residents submitted their memorandum to the Msunduzi Municipality.

The list of their demands included:

• More cameras to be installed around the CBD and other places and provision made for a person to monitor these cameras

• More police vans driving around in the communities and patrolling

• Municipality to include women’s committees in their annual meetings to tackle the issues women face and find possible ways of going forward and ensuring that women and children are protected.

Palesa Ngcobo, one of the leaders of the march, said they are fighting for women’s rights.

She said they are tired of the police who she says ignore their cases when they go to report them.

“We are tired. We are angry. We no longer feel safe in our very own communities. If we are not being mugged, we are being killed at the hands of our very own family members and people close to us.

“We are being raped and kidnapped. It needs to stop. If we open cases, dockets go missing and cases are withdrawn in court while someone has evidence.

“We want the death sentence to come back.

“The whole of South Africa must stand up. Men must not keep quite, they must wake up and stop killing us and raping us. Men can do better than this,” said a tearful Ngcobo.

Ngcobo said they have held marches for women and in respect of all the fallen victims of rape and murder as an outcry to the city to fight back but nothing has been done to protect women.

Bonginkosi Chamane from Pelham, who was also part of the march, told Echo that he decided to join the march because he wants justice for women who have been abused, killed and raped by men.

He said he wants this to end.

“My grandmother was raped and killed five years ago by a young man who was very close to our family. She was slaughtered.

“She took this man inside her house with the hope that he will change and do something good about his life. My grandmother was killed for her pension money. Just because she said she did not have it, he decided to kill her,” said Chamane, who added that the recent incidents have brought back the pain he felt when they found his grandmother lying dead in a pool of blood.

“This has to stop now. It has been going on for a long time and nothing is changing.

“As men we need to stand up and help our sisters fight this. We cannot just stand and watch them fight alone.

We need to support them all the time; if we can do that a lot of lives can be saved.”

“We need to protect women,” he said.

The memorandum was accepted by Msunduzi Municipality executive member and ANC Women’s League Chairperson Zanele Ngcobo.

She said they will do everything in their power to support all the women and put an end to the abuse.

“If it means that we need to sign a petition we will do that. We will work on these issues as the municipality.

“We will see what we can do to pass the message on to the president’s office.

“They must bring back the death sentence. If you kill someone, you must die,” she said.

The chairperson said they will make sure that the 16 days of activism campaign becomes a daily occurrence to protect women.

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