ANC extols its policies against gender-based violence despite increasing reports of attacks

2017-11-21 21:37
Parliament. (News24)

Parliament. (News24)

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Cape Town – The ANC extolled its policies for the prevention of gender-based violence during the yearly debate on gender-based violence on Tuesday morning.

Opposition parties, however, were quick to point out that these policies were failing, as gender-based violence was increasing.

"The ANC, not starting today, has always had clear programmes. The ANC has always continued to fight for women," a spirited Minister of Women in the Presidency Susan Shabangu said as she closed the debate.

"It is the ANC which came up with the Women's Charter! Sexual offences courts are being rolled out by the ANC [government]," she said.

READ: Jordaan justifies his silence as empathy for victims of gender-based violence

DA MP Denise Robinson raised a point of order, saying Shabangu was misleading the House as the government was in fact closing these courts.

Apart from pointing out the fact that gender-based violence was on the rise, opposition MPs also slammed the Department of Social Development.

Minister of social development slammed

IFP MP Liezl van der Merwe said while the high levels of violence in South Africa were deeply rooted in the country's past, the government's role should also be questioned.

"By Cabinet's own admission, government's integrated plan of action to fight gender-based violence has failed," said Van der Merwe. 

"There are many reasons for this, but fundamentally because we have tasked the Department of Social Development to drive and implement this programme. Yet we know the minister of social development has been so busy manufacturing one Sassa (South African Social Security Agency) crisis after the other that this integrated plan of action has received no attention," she said. 

Competent people

Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini was attending a joint meeting of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts and the Portfolio Committee on Social Development to deal with the Sassa matter while the debate was taking place.

DA MP Bridget Masango said: "Another day at Sassa, another grants crisis brought to you by the minister of social development".

She said the Department of Social Development should be at the forefront of the fight against gender-based violence, but instead Dlamini fires all the competent people in the department and dodges accountability in Parliament.

ANC harbouring a 'convicted women abuser'

NFP MP Sibusiso Mncwabe said: "It is a national disgrace that we should debate this shame every year and every year the figures are higher."

DA MP Zakhele Mbhele said the ANC lacked the political will to improve policing.

ANC MP and chairperson of the Portfolio Committee Francois Beukman proposed eight measures to combat gender-based violence, including compulsory consequence management for police members at all levels who respond inadequately to complaints relating to violence against women and children and the allocation of more resources to the police's family violence, child protection and sexual offences units.

The ANC was also accused of harbouring a "convicted women abuser", as Van der Merwe put it, in their midst – former deputy minister of higher education and training Mduduzi Manana. 

READWe can't have women beaters as MPs – activist on Manana

"Manana got away with a slap on the wrist for savagely beating a woman," said EFF MP Sophie Thembekwayo. "What is wrong with our society?"

Shabangu and ANC MP Chana Pilane-Majake attacked the opposition, especially the DA. 

"The ANC is ready to fight this war. The question is who will support us if we have an opposition like that," said Pilane-Majake.

DA chief whip John Steenhuisen jumped up for a point of order.

"If you talk war, you need to bring troops with you," he said, pointing at the empty ANC benches. 

Read more on:    cape town  |  gender-based violence

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